Election is a battle of wits. In the election wrangles what matters is the man behind the campaign as in war what matters is the man behind the gun. The campaigners try to enchant the people with promises and thus keep them in a state of ignorance regarding the pressing realities of the present. As 'unicorns are betrayed with trees, bears with glasses, elephants with holes' so the guileless common man with promises.
Politicians understand human psychology better than the students of psychology. They know that they cannot please everyone so they aim at pleasing the majority or these who are uncritical in examining others' claims and views. In India the implicit faith of the common man in his leaders makes it an easy joy for the politicians. Nevertheless election promises varies with the nature of the problems which pester people.
At what pitch certain notes are to be played is decided by politicians in the light of people's expectations, sentiments and interests. Janata swept the polls in 1977 by promising to abjure coercive methods for family planning programme. Mrs. Gandhi won the elections in 1980 by promising a government that works. Rajiv Gandhi got unprecedented victory in 1985 by promising a clean government on the lines chalked out by Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Almost all the political parties in India make similar type of promises. They promise to finish unemployment, eradicate poverty and better the lot of the farmers. Clearly their main aim is to fish in the troubled waters ; people should entertain hopes and forget their present misery. After refuting the minister's logic regarding employment under five year plans, the late Piloo Mody quoted statistical data to prove that the number of the unemployed had been increasing after every Five Year Plans. He finally asked in his characteristic ironical manner "How many more Five Year Plans, the honourable minister will take to make the whole nation unemployed".
So the follow up action with regard to promise is to keep the people in a mood of expectancy. But nothing can come before all for all times to come. As this truth dawns upon the politicians their election promises will cease to be hyperbolic. If election promises today are prelude to the flippant politician's lies, there is little need for running the most noble concept of government which leaves, ample room for the exposure of promise makers sincerity through his performance. Cunning fox lures the crow with cheese in its beak to sing and deprive it of that.
Though some politicians are foxy but all voters are not so innocent as the crow of the fable. It is this fact that gives us the opportunity to be delighted by wanton noisy vaunts. It is sure that the voters will have the last laugh—thanks to the powers invested in voters.