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Expenses of Democracy

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Democracy is considered to be the best recipe for a country to run its state of affairs. Whereas, it is rather difficult to disagree with that, democracy has its own bugs. One of the bugs is the ability of a common person to afford the expenses of effectively participating in a democratic system. Democracy as it exists in the developing countries, wherever it does, is a luxury which only the rich can afford. As far as masses are concerned, they are meant to only cast their vote. No ordinary person can even think of contesting elections. The expenses of electoral campaigns are so high and unaffordable that these are beyond the reach of a poor person or even one from the middle income group. In Pakistan, contesting an election to a provincial or national assembly costs ten to fifty million rupees. So, all persons who do not have this money to spare stand excluded from the candidacy of a seat for provincial or national assembly. Political parties in our country and all other developing countries are not rich enough to support their candidates. In fact, the parties bank upon the huge contributions from the candidates to run their affairs.

Assuming that you have ten to fifty million rupees to spare and that you get elected to one of the assemblies and that you also become a minister. We all know putting all the very lavish pay packages and other genuine perks and privileges of a minister will not make up for the money spent by you to become a minister. So, what will be your first concern? Obviously, it will be to recover the difference between what you spent and the what you are likely to earn if you remain a minister for the entire duration of the government. Your next concern will, quite justifiably, be to be in a position to contest the next election without requiring a penny to spend from your pocket. Your third concern will be to accommodate all monetary or other forms of legal or illegal requests of your chief supporters who enabled to win the election and become a minister. You, certainly, can't say no to these supporters as you have to secure a seat in the next election. It implies that whether you like it or not, you will have to resort to unfair means to remain alive in the politics of democracy. So, where do the "slogans of serving the masses", "alleviating the poverty" etc etc stand? It will be very fair to state that these slogans will be limited to mere rhetoric.

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posted @ 4:23 PM,

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