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Role of media and boycotting elections…

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 Its a pity. Yesterday I spent the day going around town to find that all election activities are happening only inside the large electoral offices. No passionate speeches, no door to door canvassing. Are the elections only on t.v.?
So, at 9 pm I switched on the tv. Only to watch inane debates on whether the Gandhi scion is getting married or becoming PM!!! Hopefully, that is not the deciding factor. The exception is the Gandhi wannabe brides. Another vote bank to cash in.  Sad, that it should occupy prime time bytes. Two ‘very distinguished’ personalities – Suhel Seth, a political columnist and Jayanthi Natarajan actually debated this issue.
I started switching channels. Three out of five news channels were airing inane stories on the branding of the Gandhi siblings.
And those who aired the candidate interviews were no better – Manmohan Sngh pumelling Advani, Advani kickboxing back, Rahul aiding Singh, Modi jumping in the ring…these elections are one funny round.
The media needs to focus more on  issues or round ups at prime time, rather then indulge in politicking. There are some good debates on the progress report of the government. The one to one or round table discussions with a good facilitator are interesting. When filtered from the mudslinging, which is now a part and parcel of headline grabbing tactics.
The media also has fewer poll pundits this time around. Whatever happened to the hour by hour pre-poll analysis? Or is it too expensive now? Live coverage is more focussed on election rallies. Other then ‘aaj tak’s’ vote guru, there have been very few reports on what the electorate think and believe. Fewer organised shows on which issues will become the deciding factors. Are we as a nation unable to identify crucial issues that should influenceour vote? Issues will differ from constituency to constituency, from region to region, from state to state. Few issues can be termed as national issues other then recession. This exercise should have been started by the media a year back. But most of our media channels are busy heyperventilating on non-breaking news. Paranoid reporters with crazy headlines.
For Mumbai, we can be certain that the terror attack is a decisive factor. So much so, that Congress bigwigs have to still come and canvass in any loud way. The question is, should Mumbai vote? Or should we boycott? I am tempted to boycott. Protest at the inaction or lack of any concrete measures taken in the aftermath of terror attacks. VT station still has inactive security measures. The police stand by and chat, while the beepers in one lone secure doorway are off. Even if I had carried a loaded handgun, I could have easliy walked in and out of the station at all times.
The opposition, across all colours, has done little to tell how it is going to act. It is busy playing the communal card and thinking of internal draconian acts. Rather then suggest or be at one with the nation to get Pakistan’s apology, which by the way is still not given. As the people were reminded of the shameful response to Kandahar, or the loss of lives at Akshardham, I doubt if BJP would have responded differently.
Indeed the decision to act or send in commandos came only a day later, at whose behest? I still remember watching this live on tv with some Manipuri friends from Calcutta. Suddenly, it was as if Manipur extremism had come to Mumbai, they said. The NE youth flee the NE to avoid terrorism, or so they claim. But really it is not any different here anymore. And this is Mumbai.
It’s true. Mumbaikars need to boycott elections, if nothing else,then to teach a lesson to all politicians.
Let us see what the vote percentage in Mumbai is going to be like. 

Written by Karuna

April 14, 2009 at 7:26 am

Posted in News and politics

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