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