Carry the people with you . . !

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JUST a few weeks ago, Chinese Prime Minister Xi, managed to get unlimited powers from the members of the party he belonged to. Today, he fights rage and anger, causing unprecedented riots all over China! Obviously, members of his party don’t have the backing of the people, which means he is on a sticky wicket.

Most ‘undisputed’ leaders fall into this trap. At first, they carry the people with them, through dramatic rhetoric and equally forceful measures, which their people love, and it usually is a so-called ‘strong’ man who wins people this way, then Mr Strong Man turns into a bully.

Bullies finally lose. Bullies tsunami on their own muscular achievements and slowly begin to think it’s their strong arm tactics that have got results, not understanding that those tactics initially had the backing of the electorate, that it was not their muscle but ‘people muscle’ that gave them power to get results.

Then the ‘people’ are suddenly dropped, and Mr Strong Man begins to do things on his own, quite often making moves against some of the very ones who gave him strength. Therein comes the beginning of his downfall. “Sir, the people are protesting!” “But don’t they remember the surgical strikes I made on the border, when we killed enemy troops?”

“Sir, they are sitting on the roads and blocking the entrance to the capital! They feel those laws you passed, took away their equal rights!” “Have they forgotten the money I promised they would get in their banks?” And Mr Strong Man carries on regardless, thinking that with the confidence he has got from the people over promises, or some muscular deeds he achieved, he can get away doing anything and everything his way.

Till the people react. Sri Lanka’s president found out, and voted in by a huge mandate was thrown out by the very ones who put him there. Kings and queens of old, cruel and barbaric, were finally disposed of by the very subjects they were supposed to rule, and unlike those royal thrones or Chinese autocracy, democracy is made up of even more ‘fickle’ people who cannot be fed on religion all the time, but on substance that nourishes their bellies, and jobs that provide shelter.

And people want peace! Yes, people long for peace. You can rile them up for votes, using hate and anger, but what they want is calm and the secure knowledge that anger bred in ‘others’ will not have backlashes which will disrupt their daily lives. In short, carry the people with you, and that means all the people, is a must in any form of government. Or, like all powerful Xi is finding out, carrying only some people with him, just doesn’t work..!