[vc_custom_heading text="While the tradition of freebies is quite old for the Indian politics, of late, a realisation is dawning on political parties too that these sops might not be of much help in reviving their sagging electoral fortunes as the public is seeing through the game politicians play and are becoming wary of them."][vc_column_text]In India, it is almost a given. While political parties in power, at the Centre or in states, dole out freebies to the public, especially during election season to remain in power, those in the Opposition heap promises in their manifestos, which can never be fulfilled, to win over the voters to their side to come to power. Opposition parties are always at a disadvantage as they have no option but to make do with only promises, no matter how unrealistic and untenable they are. But parties in government have the privilege to woo the electorate through generous legislative incentives in the form of free food, medicine, power or subsidies on various items, food etc putting undue burden on the exchequer.
Almost all the parties rely heavily on freebies to win elections. Why? There are two reasons for it. One, they know they have failed to deliver at the governance and need to pacify the public anger. Two, they do so in the fond hope that the lure of free gifts would be such that the public would forget and forgive their omissions and commissions and that the offers will make up for misgovernance. No wonder they have been proved right so far. They could be able to fool the electorate as everyone would fall head over heels for whatever is on offer. But no longer seems to be the case.
As political awareness is gradually but steadily dawning on the masses in the length and breadth of the country, it is no longer easy to hoodwink public opinion. People don’t want to put their long-term interests at stake for short-term gains. They now realise these doles can never be a substitute to good governance. This is becoming evident from election after election. The fate of ruling parties which offered freebies is fresh in our minds. The electorate voted them out, despite the freebies.
Moreover, everybody understands today how effective these sops could be in turning around the fortunes of their beneficiaries. These doles, in fact, end up making them dependent on the government reducing them to the status of beggars. They cannot replace genuine effort on employment generation and empowerment of the public.
While the tradition of freebies is quite old for the Indian politics, of late, a realisation is dawning on political parties too that these sops might not be of much help in reviving their sagging electoral fortunes as the public is seeing through the game politicians play and are becoming wary of them. Not only that, some are adept at beating them in their own game. They accept whatever is on offer, but when it comes to electing their representatives, they would go for a candidate of their choice. Our political class needs to know which side is the wind blowing and mend their ways, the sooner the better for themselves.[/vc_column_text]
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The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer. Writer is a freelance journalist/journalist based in Delhi