Monday, November 28th, 2022 16:00:41

Deepavali Manifesto Kill The Demons In Politics

Updated: November 12, 2011 5:38 pm

At the very outset, I wish all the readers a very happy Deepavali and may this Diwali burn all your bad times and bring you in good times! Although, it is an irony that when the denizens of the country are religiously and zealously preparing to celebrate Deepavali—the festival of lights—the country is groping in the labyrinthine “darkened” alleys of corruption, which is eating into the vitals of the country. But the Congress appears to have not learnt any lesson and had to bite the dust in the four by-elections, of which results were declared last week. In the Hisar Lok Sabha contest, the victory of Kuldeep Bishnoi of Haryana Janhit Congress, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, was on the cards. The real setback for the Congress was a significant erosion in popular support, with its candidate finishing a distant third and losing the deposit. In Maharashtra, the Congress-NCP aliance lost the Khadakwasla seat to the BJP. In Assembly by-elections in Daraunda in Bihar the Janata Dal (United), capitalising on the popularity of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, closed out both the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress. In Banswada, Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti candidate trounced the ruling Congress party candidate by a huge margin. In the normal course, results to four by-elections would not have attracted much attention. But since they were held against the backdrop of the high-voltage campaign against corruption, Congress found itself answering a volley of questions on whether it regarded these results as a referendum against it. The anger of the aam aadmi over rising corruption has reached fever pitch. What people are calling a regime of scams includes the alleged theft of billions of dollars by officials and politicians in last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in revenues lost from the crooked sale of 2G telecoms licences, and in schemes subsidising food and fuel for the poor, besides others. So much so that foreign businessmen, who have slashed investment over the past year, rank graft as their biggest headache behind the appalling infrastructure.

But Congress does not want to understand the message of the by-poll results. It might try to teach another lesson to the public who rejected it in by-elections. The way it talks does not reflect that it understands the fact that public is frustrated due to its behaviour and working, which created corruption, price rise, black money, etc. In fact, corruption has become so big an issue that it has assumed the centre stage in the country. That is why BJP’s senior leader LK Advani staged another Rath Yatra to fight against this evil. No wonder that his Rath Yatra is getting a rousing welcome, wherever it passes through in the country—whether it be Vidarbha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh or Odisha. It is noteworthy that LK Advani’s nationwide Rath Yatra, named Chetna Yatra, for good governance began at Sitab-Diara in Bihar on October11 and will end in New Delhi on November 20, covering 18 states and three Union territories. Furthermore, former BJP President, Rajnath Singh, is also taking out Chetna Yatra in eastern UP and Kalraj Mishra in western UP. But Congress leaders are inclined to shrug their shoulders. After all, corruption does not seem to be stopping India from growing. Yet imagine how better the country would be doing without it. Corruption raises costs not just to Indians, but also to the foreigners whose capital India needs. However, it is not that the nation does not know what should be done to deal with corruption and the associated illegality. Since the 1950s, there have been dozens of committees and commissions that have gone into aspects of it. They include the Kaldor Report (1956), the Santhanam Committee (1964), the Wanchoo Committee (1971), the Dagli Committee (1979), the NIPFP Report (1985), and the Kelkar Committee (2002). Then there are the reports of Estimates Committees, the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committees. The reports contain thousands of suggestions—and hundreds of them have been implemented. But these reports or changes in laws (such as the introduction of the Right to Information) have been thwarted or diluted by the corrupt. People have often been disappointed by these failures and have become cynical. The subversion of steps to root out corruption and the associated corruption is engineered by the ruling elite consisting of the triad of corrupt politicians, businessmen and the executive. Thus in India, one cannot talk about public service without raising the issues of corruption, lack of transparency and accountability. It is noteworthy that the largest amount of corruption at the citizens’ level is extortionary, and people often have no choice when faced with the dilemma of having to lose much more in the form of lost money, time and opportunity, not to speak of anxiety, harassment and humiliation if they did not comply with demands for bribes. It is against this backdrop that these by-poll results are a wake-up call to Congress, which could be symptomatic of a widespread disiilusionment. If it does not read the writing on the wall and mend its ways now, it will have to learn the hard way in the 2014 general elections.


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