The New Era Of Indian Republic
The people of India are happier and more joyous on this year’s Republic Day as the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2014, the greatest democracy in the world, are presenting to the people of India, a whole new golden epoch-making era of “Power to the people”—aam aadmi—the common man. The recent happenings have awakened the citizens to understand and realise and utilise the power to “vote”. They have suddenly exemplified the way in which people can rule themselves—Swaraj, the way in which they can extract responsibility from the ruling people’s representatives in Assemblies or Parliament. They now have understood the art of pushing out erring or defaulting representatives. They have been now armed with the tricks of trade to get politics of the day changed to their way of liking or disliking. People’s rule means they are the supreme rulers—peoples representatives ought to understand and realise that in fact, they are mere “servants of the people” and not their “masters” as they have wrongly presumed all these years.
People’s movement led by Anna Hazare, passing of the Lokpal Bill, provision of RTI, unprecedented public resentment march against incidents of gang rapes in Delhi, Supreme Court verdicts on decriminalisation of politics, the new enactment to combat sexual abuses, all-time highest voters turnouts in the recent state elections (be it rural side or urban India), CAG reports about scandals and corruption cases, rise of Aam Aadmi Party to power in Delhi (NCR state) with astonishing victory and unconditional Congress party support to form minority government in Delhi, clear sweep out of Congress party in the State of Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh and Delhi, absolute majority to BJP in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, unprecedented peaceful fair and impartial conduct of polls by the Election Commission are but some of the important pointers to the strength gained by the Indian democracy.
For the preceding two decades the impact of money power and muscle power had increasingly been felt at all levels from Panchayats, District Boards, State Assemblies, Municipal Boards and Corporators and even in the Parliament. In all such democratic bodies, percentage of criminal and undesirable elements being fielded by almost all parties had been increasing at a critical alarming rate. People’s representation had become an investment-oriented selfish business instead of a channel to serve public. The gap between words and deeds of the leaders and political party manifestos has been continuously widened. The voice of the people as well as voice of their representatives started remaining unheard even in the house of people (Lok Sabha) and other similar forums. Governing class continues to enhance its arrogance and apathy using several clicks by forming pressure groups and even by charging party whips. At the risk of party bosses becoming angry sycophant representatives started avoiding sounding public concerns. All parties, primarily the one in power would even openly flout Supreme Court orders, neutralising such unliked orders axing on bad elements. The governing party would not listen to genuine public protests and instead just hoodwink public with false promises and even side track public protestors by using wrong means.
On such matters as Supreme Court orders against criminal politicians or Election Commission directions, all parties even the opposition would gang up with the governing parties to neutralise such implicating orders. While doing so, the parties would even ignore inter-party ideological and other differences and even they do not hesitate to go against their own party constitutional directives. In such a concerted way, all political parties, owing to their common vested interest, defy and defeat any effort aimed at any kind of reform. They keep talking about reforms in public but never intend to proceed to reform things.
The democratic lines were awfully felt abandoned when almost all parties developed and fostered main leaders’ family’s foothold on the parties’ control board and operations. Family members got inducted in parties’ affairs rampantly irrespective of lack of eligibility competence or public dislikes. Political parties, except two or three have become personal properties and party affairs encompass as many family members as possible in different roles. The studies made reveal that about 200 leading politicians and their families are enjoying a definite decisive say in the affairs of the nation, each one becoming a sultan in one’s respective territory. Worse than this, each political party changed its norms to select election candidates on the basis of party’s or its leader’s vested interests instead of interest of the nation, which in other words interest of public at large. This is the way in which democratic values get side tracked at the root level. Each and every political party is guilty of such wrong doing which in fact is the root cause of political criminalisation and present-day crises in the polluted public forums. This kind of wrong behavior of political parties culminating in flouting laws and rules enacted by themselves. If lawmakers and law enforcers break the laws, how can public compliance of laws be expected?
It is a matter of great concern that induction of unwanted elements in the public representation by political parties had caused phenomenal increase in legal criminal proceedings against such persons in power even at ministry levels, leading to arrests, convictions, imprisonment and penalties including electoral disablement. Increase in such instances has shaken the public trust and confidence in the present-day ruling class irrespective of their party affiliations, exceptions becoming rare to rarest. In such a highly surcharged selfish political atmosphere, eligible competent right conducting citizens started shying away from politics, political activities and public affairs. Right conducting professional luminaries would not agree for public assignments fearing suffocation and non-cooperation or bad treatment by vested interest highly frequenting the system. When people of integrity and goodwill start keeping off politics and political affairs, it tantamounts to the worst fall of the society, even many times severer than the bad impact of unwanted worst criminals commanding the system.
Every bad happening or crisis has its duration. Someday, it must come to an end. At least, the friends of democracy and public at large started realising those present-day active politicians of all hues and groups can never deliver the public good. The change has to be made and that can only be initiated by new upcoming virtuous upright public representatives with service motto, believing in self denial. They can only deliver the public aspirations to overcome poverty, misery, inflationary price rises, corruption-free public dealings, better servicing of welfare measures, development and growth of the economy. Such a realisation had dramatically shifted political electoral choice leading to swapping off bad elements, selfish self-serving politicians and political parties. The recent state elections have more than testified this change in the public mood. Post-election happenings have further accelerated the shift in the voters’ choice and are certainly to have such strong registrations in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The public at large decided to discard all existing discredited politicians. It came to public understanding that right type of candidates’ newly entering politics will fulfill their expectations. Such selfless new politicians can only push out hard-skinned self-serving people’s representatives who have forgotten their dharma and their duties. This is what has actually happened in the recent state election verdicts placing a newly born small party of novice activists in the seat of power in Delhi with a great hope to solve citizen’s day-to-day common problems such as electricity, water, schooling and housing. AAP or Aam Aadmi Party received unexpected extent of confidence to solve people’s problems. Upcoming of AAP, grand winning of Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh by the BJP and all-round routing of the Congress just testify the change in the public mood. These changes have demonstrated the value of citizens’ voting power and that how pressing a different button in electoral counting machine can change their destiny. They now understand how vote can strengthen the democratic values to ensure effective governance and administrative reforms speedily.
The uprising of AAP has transmitted strong signals of the changing public mood and the penetrating impact thereof to all political parties across the board all over India. This has made a strong compulsion for each political party to select only clean and competent candidates of their party for the next Lok Sabha polls. No one would afford to pick and push the wrong type of candidates except at the peril of their own party. It is neither important nor does it matters whether Aam Aadmi Party is able to pick up government power in some more states or a sizable number of Lok Sabha seats. Irrespective of any such development, each and every political party will be under pressure to start acting differently, to start making real efforts to ensure deliveries to public. A number of groups similar to AAP will replicate in many states, in many regions. Selfless, virtuous persons with right conduct with dedication to public service have now already started volunteering to enter clean politics. No more such people would keep off politics. And in this great country, there is no dearth of such virtuous potential politicians. Now since clean politics has been exemplified, selfless people would come forward to replace discarded politicians responsible for the decay and malice. Dedicated patriots in each party will be able to have access to their seats in party and electoral forums. Exactly this kind of change would script the new face of people’s power as embodied in the democracy. It is the golden beginning of the new chapter, the new period in the Indian History.
Aam Aadmi Party has initiated and committed to bringing back the self-rule—Swaraj—the power to people as dreamt by Mahatma Gandhi. Panchayats, local self-government bodies are slated to get more powers and more command of resources. This is exactly the path shown by Jai Prakash Nnarayan, Vinobaji, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Lohiaji and many more such pious great freedom fighters. The measure of integrity and honesty should be comparable to Shastriji and not that of the present-day ruling party leader famous for his honesty and integrity. There is a remarkable difference between the two although both of them are personally acclaimed for honesty and integrity. These developments are a clear pointer to people’s power to streamline ruling parties and their conduct for the good of the people. People, if vigilant and active, can ensure protection of democracy. It can never rely on the politicians who may become turncoats at any turning point.
Kejriwal has risen from an ordinary activist to a political hero and in no time he has been now seen as an icon, a trendsetter in the ways and manners of politicians of all faiths of all parties, all hues. Media has rightly or wrongly termed these phenomena as Aapkaran or Kejarikaran of manners in politics and of politicians. There is a reported stampede of aspiring politicians to become “aam aadmi”. Such activists and aspirants wish to contest Lok Sabha elections on AAP tickets or to become simply AAP members. However, Arvind Kejriwal must not only filter drinking water but should necessarily flow it through RO system. I am sure he knows that a few dirty drops of water have the guaranteed capacity to contaminate and pollute the whole water tank or the pitcher. Let each and every aspirant pass through a tough scanner to know the untold part of the story of each aspirant.
In the immediate near period, the new governments can survive on subsidies, give away freebies but in the long run India would have to certainly speed up the journey on the path of the development, may be at a speedier mode than China. Then only can national resources be better managed and can yield higher national income. Without increasing GDP, how more could be available for welfare social allocations? If income does not get enhanced, how can a people-friendly government sustain subsidies, freebies or attempt more equitable income distribution? How can poverty be alleviated? Higher rate of growth, higher production, higher productivity, higher availability of goods and services can only solve the difficulties of the people. This alone can change fortunes of the common man. Let all of us come together to grow more, to produce more, to save more, to have more for the good of the nation, for the good of our future that is for the good of our sons and daughters.
By Rikhab C Jain
(The writer is Chairman, TT Ltd.)