In a democracy, elections are supposed to be the cornerstone of societal expression, a platform where the collective conscience of the populace finds its voice. However, increasingly, the moral fabric that should underpin this democratic process appears to be fraying in India, with signs of decadence becoming more pronounced.

One of the most glaring manifestations of this decay is evident in the electoral politics itself. Rather than being driven by genuine concern for the welfare of the society and its people, political campaigns often devolve into mudslinging spectacles, fueled by personal attacks, misinformation, and polarizing rhetoric. Candidates are more concerned with discrediting opponents than presenting coherent policies or engaging in meaningful discourse on critical issues. The pursuit of power, it seems, has eclipsed the pursuit of the common good.

Furthermore, the electorate’s role in this process cannot be overlooked. In a democracy, voting is not merely a right but a sacred duty, a means through which citizens can shape the destiny of their nation. Yet, all too often, this responsibility is treated with apathy or even disdain. Even though voter turnout rates are increasing, those who do cast their ballots often do so not based on informed judgment but on superficial factors like identity politics, patronage, or misguided allegiances.

This moral decay in electoral politics and voting reflects deeper societal malaise. It speaks to a loss of faith in the principles that should guide the democratic institutions – principles of integrity, transparency, and accountability. When politicians prioritize self-interest over public service and citizens prioritize personal gain over the common good, democracy itself is undermined.

The same is the case in Nagaland, if not worse. Recognizing this problem is the first step towards addressing it. Civil society must demand higher standards from its leaders and hold them accountable for their actions.

Education and media literacy initiatives can empower citizens to make informed choices at the ballot box. Above all, there needs to be a collective reaffirmation of the values that should animate our democratic ideals – values of honesty, integrity, and civic duty.

In the end, the health of a democracy depends on the moral character of its citizens and leaders. Only by restoring integrity and virtue to our electoral processes and voting practices can we hope to claim the benefits of democracy. Until then, nothing much is going to change.

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