We have to support the RIGHT candidate and not the PARTY!
With every passing day, even though the general elections is not due until 2014, it seems that the country is getting closer and closer to a midterm parliamentary elections. There is a general consensus building in the country that the UPA government has lost the moral sanction of leading the country. The country is not able to sustain the very heavy weight of corruption inflicted on the country by the UPA government. Even though they can win the vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha, they have definitely lost the confidence of the Indian people.
If the election takes place, we would go through the process for the sixteenth time. India has seen fifteen parliamentary elections and until 1977, when a coalition of like minded parties joined hands to form the Janata party which came into power riding on a very strong anti-Indira wave because of the emergency imposed by her on the country in 1975. It took a little more than two years for these like minded parties to become so unlike minded that Prime Minister Morarji Desai had to resign in 1979 and Chaudhary Charan Singh took over as the new Prime Minister. He failed to prove his majority in the parliament, new elections took place and Indira Gandhi, who had tasted the most humiliating defeat of her political career in 1977 came back to power again in 1980. The public who had imposed a very high level of confidence in the Janata party felt very disillusioned and more so, very betrayed by them.
India has moved on from a single party majority to a coalition form of government which has been necessitated by the growth and a very strong presence of some regional parties. The ruling party calls it a government based on CMP (common minimum programme). This exercise is nothing else but a glaring example of political expediency. I am going to use an example to amplify my theory of political expediency. How it can be justified when in one election, AIADMK led by Jayalalitha would be with Congress and in the other, with BJP? I feel that CMP is not based on political ideologies but is just another name for political expediency and a tool to negate the wishes of the voters.
We, as responsible citizens, have to ask ourselves the most pertinent question '“ Do we just want an election or do we want a government which is in sync with the needs of the people? The answer is very obvious. I totally agree with Arvind Kejriwal, the RTI activist and a close associate of Anna Hazare that democracy is not only about elections...it is also about between the elections. If people like Anna Hazare would be prudent in selecting the right option, it can change the political landscape of the country and imbibe some important requirements for the candidates in our political paradigm.
I also want to talk about our political system which is also known as the largest democracy in the world. Is this label justified?
In the Lok Sabha of 2009, there are 154 members with criminal records. The BJP leads with 42 MPs followed closely by Congress with 41 MPs, 54 face serious criminal charges, including murder, and unfortunately, they are the very persons who make laws for us. Sadly, Indian law makers ensured that the bar to elections applied only if the candidates stood convicted and not if they are charge-sheeted and prosecution is going on. Even if a candidate is convicted, he can go in appeal and still be eligible to be a law maker! It takes so many years before conviction and it takes decades before an appeal is dismissed. Going by this rule, even A Raja can contest the next Lok Sabha election in 2014.
The new Indian parliament seems both rich with criminals as well as billionaires, as 300 of its 543 members are billionaires while 180 are millionaires.
I also want to talk about two Indian politicians:
UP Chief Minister Mayawati came to power on the call of 'sarvajan hitaye' (for the benefit of all). But, in three years as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati has proved that, rhetoric aside, she has industriously ensured her own benefits. The BSP chief, who loudly claims to represent the poorest of the state's poor Dalits, keeps getting richer. Her net worth at present is more than Rs 87 crore, a gain of at least Rs 35 crore over her 2007 declaration of Rs 52 crore. With more than 67% returns in three years, her performance could beat the best investment deals. She has been in field of public service for about 25 years and before that she was a teacher. She was born to poor parents and now is worth crores.
Former MP and president of newly-floated YSR Congress Party Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is perhaps one of the richest politicians in India, with declared assets of Rs365 crore. In 2009, Jagan had declared assets of Rs77 crore.The son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy declared movable and immovable assets of Rs365 crore while filing his nomination for the May 8 by-election to Kadapa Lok Sabha seat. He submitted an affidavit to the returning officer declaring his assets.
They are examples of poor India, rich politicians. They make politics look like a lucrative business.
This is more than a synopsis of my feelings of the system. I will try to come up with my solution. We cannot blame the politicians...we have to blame ourselves. They get elected because we vote for them. If the system is not working, don't blame the system...CHANGE the system. My solution involves Anna Hazare and his team. They should make an announcement that:
- Team Anna would support candidates in all the 543 constituencies, irrespective of their party affiliations
- This support would be based on the candidates education, talent, honesty, proven track record of what they were doing before the elections
- Team Anna should have their own list of candidates ready for all the constituencies. If they feel that the candidates from other parties do not pass the litmus test to get their support, they would put up their own candidates. There was a time when a lag time was required to declare your candidacy. Times have changed. Team Anna has an instant name recognition.
My feeling is that if we elect 543 members who are educated, talented and honest, irrespective of their party affiliations, whatever they will decide to do would be good for the country. If the product mix is very good, it would have an appeal. It is almost impossible to fathom that we cannot find 543 people from our population of 1.2 Billion who can pass the litmus test to serve the country. We have to get rid of those politicians who bring shame to our national polity. They have to go. These kind of lechers do not go by themselves, we have to kick them out. Indian public are very UNHAPPILY MARRIED with these kind of people. It is about time we dump them and be HAPPILY DIVORCED. Team Anna's announcement would give an impetus to all the political parties to select the right candidate. The country which at one time felt very proud of its leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr S Radhakrishnan and others have degenerated to such an extent that people are now being given the choice of electing their Prime Minister between a bunch of degenerates. If we do not go for a very radical change, we cannot call ourselves a healthy democracy. Indian public is very hungry for an honest leadership and the participation of Team Anna would prove very beneficial for the country and put us on the right track. I am not trying to elevate Anna Hazare to the position of a king maker but I feel that his voice is the voice of the masses. As we use the word GIGO (garbage in garbage out) in computer parlance, it is also very true for the quality and performance of the politicians we elect for our parliament.
As India moves towards global power status, it must undertake some very serious steps that would resolve this key dilemma and pave the way for the emergence of a parliament with integrity that would command the respect of people at home and abroad. The thinking of our elected representatives has to resonate with the thinking of the public. We do not have any other option.