Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today expressed anguish over the extent by which political discourse in the country had fallen in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, with politicians resorting to personal attacks instead of focusing on larger issues of public concern.
"Politicians should remember that they are just rivals and not enemies who wouldn't think twice before resorting to abusive language," Mr Naidu was quoted as saying by news agency ANI at a function held to commemorate his receipt of a honorary doctorate by the University for Peace at Costa Rica. "All political parties, people and even the press should seriously ponder over the issue."
The Vice President recalled how he used to be highly critical of the government's policies in his younger days as a legislator, but without resorting to personal attacks. "It is particularly important to respect the positions held by the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Opposition leaders and other public representatives," ANI reported him as saying.
The election season had witnessed a flurry of epithets, with Congress president Rahul Gandhi dubbing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "thief" and the latter terming his late predecessor -- Rajiv Gandhi -- as "corrupt number 1" in connection with the 1980s' Bofors scandal. BJP leader Pragya Thakur, another politician who hit the limelight during this election, invited criticism for her comments on 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare.
Mr Naidu went on to urge the people to elect their representatives on the basis of character, calibre, conduct and capacity to strengthen democracy while shunning four other Cs of "caste, cash, community and criminality". Taking a dig at the growing tendency of political parties to garner votes by orchestrating defections and offering freebies to the public, he said: "The country and its states need able leaders and a stable government."
The Vice President also had a word of advice for the media. "Do not mix views with news," he said, adding that the media should instead take up constructive activities such as performing an honest audit of the administration's political performance every five years.
He, however, claimed that the country's economic momentum was on an upturn. "India is being recognised and respected the world over. It's doing well at a time when the global economy is slowing down," he said. The country is also respected globally for its "civilisational values and efforts at upholding the principles of peace and non-violence", he added.
The exit polls have predicted a comfortable victory for the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government in the Lok Sabha elections. The votes will be counted on May 23.
(With inputs from ANI)