Sunday, May 17, 2009

Stand & Deliver

Some news headlines state that the electoral results herald a new dawn in Indian democracy. It somehow rings hollow in my ear as anyone with even basic study of progress of Indian politics would understand that we are not meeting a party which is as fresh and promising as a morning star.

If we try to understand the results in the larger context of time horizon and also try to observe which party has come to power, it throws some salient insights.

Congress is not an altogether fresh party. In fact wherever we stand today as a country with all its ills and strength, the credit goes to a large extent to this party. The only thing that is positive about this result is that its the best possible result amongst whatever choices we had. Its not the ideal government by any figment of imagination.

A party which has pathologically burdened into the nation's design, systems which reek of corruption, practices which allow terrorism to flourish in the name of secularism, clear interference with key bodies like CBI, Police machinery as clearly indicated by sudden withdrawal of case by CBI just 10 days before elections, should rather introspect and understand what does Rahul Gandhi imply when he says that that he wants to change the politics of the country.

What does it mean to change the politics of the country?

Identity politics is one key cancer and only a national party like Congress could have given a jolt to it and it has done that. Though we can't say that it ignored the caste and religion of its candidates when it fielded them from various constituencies. Obviously that mattered but important thing is that this aspect didn't weigh too much on the large issues of national significance which was beyond the comprehension or interest of stone age parties. 

The UPA gets a new term but it comes to power with some clear legacy of dark practices which have weakened the nation at several levels:

Complete comfort with policy of reservation. Will they replace Arjun Singh with someone who is really deserving and understands the issues that mark the important sphere of Education. How will this important sector be approached. Its just so vital as a growth engine of the nation.

Dynastic politics- a system which gets its strength from centralized decision making by a certain family and sees results arising out of this non democratic behaviour. Why would it want to change it?

Sychophancy- A party where people live by expressing their allegiance to the high command. Whether you talk about a 21 yr old karyakarta or you talk about the haggards like Arjun Singh. Would they want to change this culture of nepotism and favouritism? Is that a good example for the youth to emulate.

Corruption- The issue of multiple thousand crores being stashed in Swiss Banks. What is the debate all about? Who are the culprits? Where are they? Why is this party silent about all that? A party whose methods and policies since post independenced have only entrenched the present day ailing machinery of government systems. Manmohan Singh didn't show any interest to work in this direction. There are surely corpses which are stinking in their cupboards. And its time that the government takes this issue with vigour.

Aversion to Privatization- With a clear stand favouring more of government control, will they be able to sense their own limitations and allow the market to decide who produces what and at what rate? Obviously there are riders to it and needs to be looked at from sector to sector.

External Security- A party which has shown utter ignorance to terrorist attacks. What would its stand be now? Who will handle this portfolio and how will they want to define importance of security as against their favourite word 'secularism'. Will they take any effort to check open gate infiltration from the eastern part of the country. 

Insecurity with local governance- Will this party show interst in bringing about true democracy by devolving power to small units at the basic urban and rural level. Its larger national machinery doesn't believe in this style which is heart of democracy. Would they look at it differently now.

Agreed that Congress showed great strategic insight to carve out this electoral victory, but just stating that they want to thank the youth of this nation and clean its politics is not enough. 
Passing the test of democracy should not be inferred as a step to absolve oneself of all the sin. Its no 'Ganga Snan' as the leading opposition party would like to put its faith in. Its simply that with our present day parliamentary form of governance, we as a polity were left with no better option and we still are optimists and feel that UPA can bring about a change.

The country needs to develop on several thousand accounts and its only through good governance, healthy politics backed by strong ethics that it can be made possible. 

The country as a whole has given this opportunity. Its time for the party to now STAND AND DELIVER

The Nation's clear Mandate

With the UPA getting a clear mandate to form the government, the result has laid to rest the turbidity created by the political creatures like the various wannabe PMs in the waiting. 

As rightly stated by a number of groups, its basically cutting such parties to their size. It would have been a nightmarish thing to imagine BSP asking for PM's post to put up more elephants in Delhi in the name of governance. Remember her slogan after winning the UP elections 'UP hamari hai ab Dilli ki bari hai'. The kind of aspirations these moral and ethical midgets and incompetents have, completely gets dwarfed in front of the grand ideal of national level governance but unfortunately somehow the political equations had given them the importance far larger than their proportion. Not that their game is over, but the important thing is the jolt. What happens after this needs to be seen.

Agreed that no emerging parties with promise of clean governance could make a major dent, but the very fact that the formulaic way of reading people's mind and taking them for granted was unacceptable to an extent, is clearly indicated by the loss of people like Chiranjeevi, Mulayam Singh (reduced to 24 seats from 36), Paswan (wiped off), Lalu (reduced to 4 seats from 24) and the debacle of the Left. 

The hopelessness of their thought process can be understood from the fact that when Lalu was asked that question on losing out, he mentioned that it was an error to go to the electoral grounds all by themselves. As if everything else about their ideology was brilliant.People who are only their for power broking and are literal termites of parliament like Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh have been clearly shown the mirror.

If we get into individual results, there are some very interesting revelations but the key aspect is that, this is the best possible that the country could have expected given the nature of electoral politics that we have been carrying and experiencing through the years and the possible permutation and combinations that could have been possible. Its not that all people who have been elected are part of any galaxy but simply that its much easier now for them to correct their wrongs and see that they deliver on their promises.  

More than anything else the country at this stage needs clear minded people at the top who have the leeway to take vital decisions on financial issues, security aspects, poverty alleviation and education along with others. This can only be possible if we have people who can think well and are not tied to people who can only think narrow and ill. Probably i am repeating this point since this is the biggest reason of the simple satisfaction that i carry. 

Now the government should be well set to chart its course and see that whatever it left undone or didn't do well needs to be taken up with utmost priority. There are enough lapses on various accounts and getting a clear majority at this juncture makes its task easier. 

I expressed my thoughts in one of my blog posts last year in the direction of when our true nature actually emerges.  This day reminded me of it. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Insights on 15th LS Elections

This article from The Hindu newspaper, neatly captures some of the important facts which underline the 15th Lok Sabha elections.