April 15, 2009

How the politicians find out what people want

Political parties in a democracy are answerable to the electorate goes the cliche, but do our parties undertake any scientific research to enumerate the priorities of the masses? Well in Indian democracy leaders assume that majority of the people do not vote on a rational basis. Those leaders are right as the results of elections indicate.

Majority still vote for caste, religion, regional and ideological orientations. Economic issues do not seem to motivate the masses to vote in large numbers. But how do the parties find out what the people are thinking in their constituency? Politician in India seems to go by judgement approach and expert panel opinion taken from experts from within the party.

I have undertaken a focus group exercise in the youth segment to unravel their mind and the issues that they think are extremely important for the nation. The list in the order of priority is given under;

1. Population: Surprisingly no political party has talked about it in 2009 elections. What can the electorate do? Population growth remains the most critical issue that is slowing down the growth of India.

2. Respect for talent: Most participants feel that there is no room for talent & talented individuals in India. Youth is perturbed that the talented individuals do not stand a fair chance of achievement in our society. People still give too much importance to other factors over the talent of an individual. Students believe that it stifles the growth of talent, consequently growth of country.

3. Corruption: Why we have accepted bribery and corruption as part of life in India? Corruption weakens the country but no party seem to make it as an election issue and has offered no solutions to curb corruption in public life.

4. Economic policy: Major political parties do not present a clear cut industrialisation plan that could create jobs for the educated. All parties make similar noise about their economic policy.

5. Removal of poverty: Youth do not find mention of how much growth in per capita income would the political party would like to achieve in their tenure of five years.

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