I have previously observed here that India has what I call a “cargo cult democracy.” In India’s neighborhood that is not a distinction. The entire Indian subcontinent suffers from that malady. The short version is that around here democracy as practiced is a simulation, a facsimile that should not be confused with the real thing that has something to do with informed choice based on differing perceptions of priorities that matter in the larger scheme of things.
Informed choice is not a matter that can be delegated to people who are not only not informed but for the most part cannot be informed even if you wanted to because the basic channels for information transmission are denied to them. Most of the electorate is illiterate to begin with and to add insult to injury, meaningful debate concerning the issues is entirely non-existent in the mass media. In the absence of substantial policy choices, it all boils down to names and faces. In every nook and cranny of the country, one comes face to face with huge billboards with the faces of people with names—never mind what they represent or what their accomplishments are.