Sunday 3 February 2008

Strengthen the Delimitation protests 3: Media and Political parties have failed

Written by Anil Singh

A few newspapers mentioned it, a few others tried to elaborate it, but most of them preferred to ignore it. Yes, you’re right; we’re talking of Delimitation. If their plea is that the onus of the lack of coverage lies with the political parties which failed to lend their voices to the issue; they are correct, but only partially. The reason being, even if the political parties fail their duty, the newspapers should at least inform the masses, about the consequences of the implementation of the Act in its present form. After all they have the most erudite and well read people with them. Who else can explain an issue better than these people? Apart from that, this would have forced the dead political parties, operating in the state, to stand up and inspire the youth to lend their support to the cause. If the support of the youth can be solicited for political purposes which have national consequences then why can’t they be inspired to lend their support to an issue which has the ability of dramatically change the future of the state? I sometimes wonder why people in the state read those newspapers which pay least attention to the issues important to the state.

Among English dailies, the only ones which tried to inform the people of the state are the Times of India and Tribune. Rest of the lot preferred to remain mum. The reason why I mentioned English dailies only is that increasing number of youth are subscribing to these newspapers.

Electronic media is no different. These channels will cover movements raised by only two people regarding issues like conservation of water or forests, but will not cover those which can gag the very existence of the infant state. I’ve written about this aspect in my previous post two week ago.

Now let’s come to the political parties; barring Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the only registered regional party and another party which has political ambitions only in Uttarakhand—The Uttarakhand Sena, no other political party bothered to raise the issue. What issues these parties are raising are employment, conservation, Permanent capital etc. The way these parties function is synonymous to a builder who dreams of making a skyscraper on sand. Such a skyscraper will not materialize unless something is done to strengthen its foundation. Such behaviour is tantamount to moronic, if these parties are represented by the people who are native of the state.

The reality is that the media (the print and electronic media) treats the state as a provider than a user of the vast natural resources it possesses. That is why the depletion of water in the rivers originating from the state is important news, as the people who indulge in commercial agriculture will get less water for irrigation, but the consequences of a depleted voice in the highest democratic forum of the state and the country is not.

In the same way the political relevance of the state, for most of the political parties, is only for the no. of MPs it can send to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and nothing else. The biggest testimony to this is the fact that during the NDA Government Mrs. Sushma Swaraj represented Uttarakhand in the Rajya Sabha.

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