The political arena in Goa has become confusing. We have begun to feel the cross-pressures of several parties positioning at the crossroads and several leaders crossing party lines and all seeking our votes. We seem to have the challenge to boldly go where even the angels may fear to tread. The enormity of the task that we have to discern and come to the right decision is aggravated as the axis of the electoral arena is continuously shifting. The fact that new parties are launching their campaign along sides the jumping jacks of almost all the older parties has made it difficult if not impossible for the voters to make up their minds about their vote. The changing political landscape manifests that it is not just some leaders who jump ship, it also a significant number of their loyalists do the same. As one sees the support base of some parties is shifting ground, it becomes indeed difficult for the ordinary citizen to make his/her vote count. It seems that the power of right thinking voters has dwindled as parties and their leaders seem to have taken politics beyond ideological frameworks. Yesterday’s BJP minister has become today’s Congress candidate. Ideology has stopped its function as the oxygen of our democracy. We seem to have stepped into a corporatized politics that has taken us into a post-ideological stage. This precarious condition has let down the voters who feel acute cross-pressures of this dynamic political condition.
Maybe the term cross-pressure can become our guiding light to understand the political drama unleashed in our society. Parties, candidates and the voters are cross-pressured. No one is on the extreme right or left. Their right and the left are crossing ideologies, attitudes and policies. There is no pure left as well as pure right. Maybe the voter is still not cross-pressured in this sense and hence feels lost in the politics that is unfolding in front of him/her. He/ she has not yet come to terms with the left and right intermingling into a cocktail of the choices that political parties are dishing out. Paradoxically, even the voter feels a multipolar pressure that we may also see as cross-pressure of another kind.
The voter who seeks authenticity in the candidate and the political party is certainly at loss as ideology in a post-ideology condition is only an instrumental and pragmatic tool in politics. We are facing the death of authenticity in the politics of a post-ideological character. Our social imaginaries of the past name such politics as hypocritical and therefore, voters do feel let down by the culture of politics that is brewing around us. All our shared beliefs about politics do not seem to hold any water. One can also see a sea change in the political practices of our day. Besides, we can also find several promissory notes thrown at the voters in the form of freebies that seem to go beyond normal budgetary allocations. This only shows that elections and the political process have become a transaction that is based on the principle that seems to say, ‘you give me votes and I will give you freebees’. This seems to mean that voting has become an economic transaction. We may have come full circle in the corporatization of politics. This is why we have to welcome the Supreme Court’s verdict that named the dangers of the freebees to our democracy.
The socio-political pressures working on the voters, candidates and even political parties have changed today. This is why I have tried to make sense of the changing scenario through the lens of corporatized politics. There are multiple lines of forces that are exerting pressure and are at play in our political arena. This means political orientations that are at play are in constant flux because political interests keep shifting grounds. We can see this clearly with political leaders changing their parties and justifying their choice as redemption from old humiliating and debilitating conditions. Given the volatile condition, the voter also feels subjected to multiple pressures and is challenged to become a cross-pressured voter. Instead of resolving the internal conflict by surrendering to one or other pressures, it is important to attempt to make an enlightened choice to get out of this stressful condition.
We may have to put everything into a semiotic black hole or veil of ignorance and examine how interests/ desires operate at all levels in our politics. This may require us to ask the Freudian question: what do the women want? Obviously in this situation, we have to substitute the women for the candidate, party and voter. This may enable us to open up conditions that mobilize desire, fantasy and phobia in our political engagement. Examining how these latent desires, fantasies, phobias work in the intimacy of our life can enable us to wriggle out of our precarious condition. This scrutiny may enable us to examine how we seek to shape an ideal-ego (ideal-voter) by seeking to live out what may be called the ego’s ideal. Some may vote BJP to live an ego’s ideal of a perfect Hindu nationalist. Others may envision liberty and secular India as their ego’s ideal and accordingly deem their voting for Congress as a way of becoming an ideal-ego. This means an act of voting is profoundly complex and several shades of meanings, values and expectations are intertwined with it. This is why we have to examine what passes as ego’s -ideal in order to be able to become an enlightened voters. We aim at becoming an enlightened voter ( ideal-ego) and to achieve this we examine the ego’s -ideal ( desires, fantasies, phobias etc). In a cross-pressured situation, the voter has this duty to come to an enlightened discernment and rise above the condition that ways us down.