Over the last 10 days, I have addressed more than 10 gatherings. Gatherings of Industrialists, middle class citizenry, workers from the food and garment industry and Bangalore’s pride – the software and services sector. My topic of discussion at all these places has been ‘Making Democracy work’.
The response from all the social and economic sectors has been very reassuring and encouraging. There is so much earnestness in wanting to engage with the electoral process. People are keen to know how they can participate; what are the exact questions that they need to ask the political class when they come to canvass; and what are the essentials to look for in the candidates that they should be wanting for.
People also understand the one can no longer complain that money and caste equations decide ‘Winability’. This situation has arisen only because the electorate has allowed it be so. The common man is as much responsible for this state of affairs as the politician and the parties. We now need to work together to redefine winability. Performance and accountability need to be the yardsticks in which we decide on who represents us in Parliament.
Wherever I speak, the people are serious and desirous of working towards this change. This is a good way to begin making our democracy healthy. We now need to ensure that this momentum is sustained beyond the elections. After all, elections are only one milestone in democracy. We need to bring in continuous engagement of the citizens in the democratic process to make it truly participatory and inclusive.