ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Communication and Its Discontents

Contradictions between ideology and symbolism were quite evident in the recent state elections.

As the dust settles around the commotion of opinions about the recently concluded assembly elections in five states in India, the time is ripe for taking stock of the motifs and messages that were communicated to the public by certain political parties. In every election, one notices a huge array or spectrum of symbols, slogans, and messages that are aimed to garner public support and sympathy. Certain symbols used during the time of the elections are etched in public memory for a longer time span than what the political leaders may have intended themselves. For such is the characteristic nature of political communication during the time of elections—the promises inherent in the persuasive approach of the political parties’ communicative symbolism outlive their intended use-by date, as it were. Even against the fervent intentions of the politicians, public memory tends to be sharp enough to remember the promises made during the exceptional time of the elections, where the balance of power temporarily shifts in favour of the voters.

There is a system of accountability built into the very structure of representative democracies where political parties are hesitant to take decisions that are likely to be harmful to the general public welfare at the time of elections. At the same time, it is also true that such a system of accountability appears to be dysfunctional after the election time has passed, when the ruling parties begin to feel a sense of firmness and solidity in their control of political power for the foreseeable future.

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Updated On : 9th Apr, 2022
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