Sunday, March 16, 2014

10 Reasons Why One Might Want to Contest Elections

Election time is here again and there is a madness to it that makes no sense. People jumping parties, parties slinging mud at one another, people trying to choose between leaders they know nothing about, money flying all over, film stars, cricketers, every single wannabe is out there, all the weirdest behaviors are out there.

When you look at the people in the fray, most fighting like crazed dogs, one suspects there may be reasons other than public service. Why would anyone want to fight like that to serve some unknown public? I don't think anyone would. If they wanted to serve they would anyway, irrespective of position.

Let me guess the top 10 reasons for joining politics and wanting to become a leader.

1) Have money to spend: Each election costs crores. Unless you have a thick source, there is no way you can contest elections (because you may never get that money back). One reason why you would want to contest would be to legitimize the color of the money and hopefully recover the investment and some more.

2) Make policy: Some join because they want to influence policy so they can make favorable laws for their companies, industries, future politics, election codes etc. Let's say a policy was made by a certain type of person who looked a certain way, weighed a certain weight, had a mole on the nose etc saying that only such people could become Prime Ministers - that would be a nice law would it not. 

3) Stay out of jail: Many convicted felons enter politics because they somehow get cleansed of all their crimes once they get elected. The same police that put them in jail now stands guard, the same people now queue up - all's forgiven brother. Now they can kill, kidnap, rape from under the umbrella. No greater irony than this.

4) Make money: Most people get into politics to weaken someone else's chances. This also gives them scope to bargain for a better deal. Who wants all this serving people business, show me the money.

5) Immunity: The white cloth gives great immunity. You can pretty much do anything once you wear the clothes of a  politician. You get access to government officials, get things done, can organise rallies, morchas etc, put shamianas in the middle of the road, no issues.

6) Save money / Get some heat off: Many people who are facing the heat - scams, industrial frauds, corporate embezzlement - also find it easier to get the heat off if they join politics. Somehow most of the heat goes away too. For many, politics is the best way to save ill gotten wealth that the sniffer dogs are getting uncomfortably close to.

7) Perks: Whether you get elected or not there will be some perks that come with fighting elections. You are now known as the leader. You can leer at women, slap people around, talk all kinds of nonsense on television, do moral policing etc etc. You also get to be on committees, get inside information on many deals, get tax free income from the many businesses that escape the IT net. Sometimes the government perks are not too bad either.

8) Be in the limelight: People flock to you and it can become addictive. Especially if you have got used to the limelight as a youngster - a cricketer, an actor. Most of these people do not know how to fade away and come back into politics to seek some more limelight.

9) Be on hoardings: Apart from being in the media most also like to see themselves up on hoardings with about 30 other photos crowding it. From small time leaders to big time leaders, hoardings are up for grabs and a nice way to let everyone know who you are.

10) Continue the family legacy: This I am sure is a big reason for many. The family is into politics which means that the people and the country owe it to them. So they put the next dud, doesn't matter whether he is stoned silly out of his mind all the time and he has to continue the rich legacy the family has gifted us.

One way or another it looks like a fun career to get into. You can be excused for all sorts of behavior, you can rub shoulders with the celebrities, meet actresses, cricketers, become head of cricket boards and associations and sports boards, cavort with nubile babes right into the ripe old ages, no retirement, can have multiple homes at state expense - oh, it sounds too good to be true. All you have to do is talk and talk ill of everyone around you and make unreasonable promises.

Don't get me wrong. Some genuinely want to serve the public. For some, the public is limited to their immediate family, for some its the extended family, for some a little more.The key is to get elected though, whatever the cost. Then they have a story. Otherwise its money down the drain.

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