Why Do Politicians Earn A Bad Name In Politics? Does the voters need introspection to elect candidates who believe in deeds not in words for 2014- election?
Sometimes, it seems there is a difference between public service and politics, although the two concepts are supposed to be interchangeable. Citizens may support their hardworking elected representatives, but passionately disdain some power-hungry dirty politicians. Why do so many politicians have a bad reputation when their job descriptions seem so noble and self-sacrificing? The answer can be a little complicated.
‘All of us know, currently our country is passing through serious economic crisis, high rate of inflation, low rate of growth, a disastrous threat by external forces (say for instance, repeated intrusions of foreign forces to our home land so also tiny State could forward her threat to India half a dozen times in a month and beheading our brave soldiers, and so on) and internal threats by Naxals and anti-socials. Caste-based politics and imbalanced reservation system in every sphere in the name of so called distressed and oppressed have not only spoiled out society, but also made divisions and breaks in the traditional brotherlihood, besides creating disparity between the deserving and undeserving entities. The status of Indian rupee has gone down all time low touching 61 per US dollar in July this year. Law and order in the country has gone to hell. Thousands of schemes are being launched by the politicians without proper planning and ensuring their source of funding in the budget. There is a bee of lines among the politicians to lay foundation stones keeping forthcoming election in view. Every government in power has followed the tactics of diversion- from one source to another to appease a particular community or Caste or sect in the name of so called secularism only to grab votes. A majority of innocent, illiterate, and soft-spoken voters fall to the temporal taste of their leaders. For instance, distribution of cycles, bikes, cell phones, laptops, tablets, TV sets, saris, and rice and wheat at one rupee and so on by different political parties to lure the voters in their favor at the cost of public has become the trend of the day. Such attractive offers at the cost of tax-paying money of the citizens have made the beneficiaries lazy, dependent, and forced them not to work hard. This seems to be gross misuse of tax-paying money.
The rate of corruption has reached its pick. Particularly, the alleged 2-G scam, Coal and mining Scam, Adarsh Housing scam, Railway bribe scam, and the recent multibillion Chopper scams have tarnished the much preserved credibility and the image of the country to an all time low. There is an unprecedented price rise of essential commodities, coupled with the rising incidents of looting, burglary, extortion, murder, raping in all most all cities in India which has become the cause of worry for the common man who wanted to lead a peaceful life. The rate of onion @ rupees 80 a kg virtually made India cry. Six months after construction of a road and five years after a dam is constructed and ten years after a building is erected are either collapsed or cracked as we see in media often, as there is the lack of accountability, transparency, and stringent enforcement of law of the land for the wrong doers. Whatever dignity Indian citizens have attained and whatever justice an individual citizen gets from democratically elected government, it is only because of our Honorable Supreme Court’s judicious rulings from time to time and its interventions to protect the constitution and to safeguard the rule of law. The alleged use of CBI for vested interests by a large political party in power is a crystal indicator in this direction. However, crores of cases are still pending in different courts in India as our judicial system seems to be running at a snail pace, perhaps because of lack of infrastructure and inadequate number of Judges and prolonged trial system in judicial sector. There is a public perception that, the 2014 new government should provide all infrastructures to the Judiciary system including appointment of adequate number of judges and other judicial staff to dispose of each case within a stipulated time frame. The spirit of law of limitation, therefore, needs to be re-worded, if required. Every litigant or criminal or justice seeker should know his/her fate that he/she is going to get justice within a year or so from the date of filing the case or the charge sheet whatsoever. Today, there is n-number of cases where the court decision comes after the petitioner/respondent dies. The whole reform cannot be done within a month or so, but at least during the 5-years’ tenure of a government, if it has the will power to do so, can be done in phases-may not be in one-go.
Why do citizens need to introspect about their obligations?
The citizens need to introspect and ask their conscience to cast their valuable votes not in favor of any party but in favor of candidate to whom they consider as the best candidate in terms of honesty, integrity, image, capability, uprightness and having voice to represent public need on the floor of the house. The time for every Indian voter has, therefore, come for introspection and analysis of the credibility, achievements, and antecedents of the representative (s) to whom they had voted to power in last election(s).
Strike in undemocratic process, unlawful road blockades in the name of demands, rail rok, destroying public properties out of anger (for instance, the hospital properties in case a patient died; burning of Public vehicles in case of a road accident; Putting the Police vehicles into fire and pelting stone on our police force, in case the police comes late to the place of incident, mercilessly beating those public who do not support bandh calls by the political activists, and so on as being shown in media) have become a regular affair in our country, which are totally unjust. Why such things happen? Even the excellent and judicious rulings given by our highest court of appeal in the past remain unheeded by the politicians and the government in power which is quite unfortunate. The reason is that the government is afraid to take action with the sole intention of loosing vote and to make the government in power
Behind most of such incidents, there are some politicians or the other. It does not mean that, all politicians are dishonest, It is quite wrong. There are also some politicians today who believe Gandhian thoughts to some extent and prevent those workers and political followers from entering to their home being intoxicated and have affixed a board in their home to this effect (madya pan kari prabesh nisedh). Sometimes, this irks his party workers, but the leader seems do not bother and such leaders are held in high esteem in the society, does not matter, even if such leaders fail to win election. There are quite a few politicians who could not make a descent home during their entire life time of their political career. The voters must salute such leaders irrespective of their political affinity and personal virtues across all political parties in the country.
Sometimes, the voters are being biased by an entity of temporal taste. It is often seen that even if a politician is capable of providing effective leadership and contributes substantially to the development of the region and progress of the people he represents, such leaders are being often misconstrued simply on the ground that, the leader is vocal, speaks truth and candid at face and denies to bail out people or his political followers involved in misdeeds. But they forget that, such leaders can provide a perpetual progress to the community they represent. Let us move to the other side of the political coin. Some political leaders, on the other hand, to sustain in power often appease the people of the their constituencies with a commendable and unprecedented polite behavior, (coupled with false promises), tall assurances, laying n-number of foundation stones, provide shelter to criminals and forcing police to release criminals, are often being praised by the voters without knowing that these virtues and qualities of a politician are of temporal taste and going to destroy the social fabric and moral values of the society in the long run.
Another most dangerous trend that political parties have set is that their voices, deeds, actions are always inconsistent. Indian polity has proved time and again that, a political party says something while in power and proves contrary while in Opposition. Even the statement of politicians given in the noon changes at the dawn. Protecting the party for assuming the power at the cost of citizens is more important than the interest of the nation and/or moral values. For instance, Honorable Supreme Courts’ judicious decision on exclusion of creamy lair from the reservation category of a particular class or community, ban on political parties on unscheduled and revolutionized bandh calls, strikes, rail and road blocks putting citizens to suffer, and Chief Information Commissioner’s excellent ruling to bring political parties with in the ambit of RTI Act were thrown by the politicians out of mercy at the cost of the sufferings of public. People in this country have a right to know from where the fund to a political party flows? So lakhs of people from one of our neighboring countries have reportedly migrated and settled in different States of India such as Odisha, Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and similar such States and managed to get ration cards and BPL cards besides grabbing jobs at the cost of our bonafide citizens. Where do the parties and the government stand? Behind every such inaction, the only attraction is to appease the voters in their favor and let the nation go to hell. At least time has come; we have to have serious introspection about choosing the right candidate in the greater interest of the nation.
Is declaration of assets at the time of filing nominations- an eye wash?
Many of us know that the present system declaration of assets by the candidates at the time of election is merely an eye wash which fails to check corruption. For instance, a candidate at the time of filing nominations declares the cost of total assets worth rupees ten lakhs and continues in power for five years. The same candidate while filing his nominations in the next election declares his assets worth rupees one crore and so on. But, neither there is any mechanism nor will power of the government or the CEC to question and probe the source of the ten time increased assets worth rupees ninety lakhs and to confiscate the same, if not satisfied, so that this could have a tremendous impact on the work style of the elected representatives besides making them conscious besides bringing the corruption to minimal.
Why most of the politicians earn a bad name in politics? The answer to this question is well discussed in wiseGeek.com:
(a) Some Politicians make so many undue promises about what they’re going to do for their country or constituency, yet they never fulfil them;
(b) The pressures of such a demanding job often changes a politician’s objectives;
(c) In politics, the main thing is to win elections. Unfortunately, the rules by which elections are organized are established by the very ones who get elected;
(d) Sometimes, a politician gets a bad reputation because he or she is driven people with good intentions, but also has poor managerial skills or a controversial public persona;
(e) Some Politicians speak more and do less, so also emphasise more in words rather than on deeds; and
(f) Majority of politicians never admit their mistakes and wrong doings.
Why do politicians give provocative statements?
In addition to these, some politicians and their associates sometimes resorts to political vendetta and delivers in public before the media unwanted and provocative statements that tarnishes their image and dragged them to controversy. Let me cite here few instances, (i) “people join defense forces to die” given by a Bihar-based Minister Sri Bhim Singh on alleged killing of five Indian jawans by Pakistan Army in Aug,2013; (ii) well known politician Abu Asim Azmi’s alleged provocative statement at Nagpada on February 24,2000 that, “If Islam were to be attacked, he would not be bothered if India was to face another partition”; (iii)One of the congress spokespersons’ alleged statement that “ 2002 Gujrat riot was the reason behind the creation of Indian Mujahideen, If they forsake their communal politics, outfits like IM will cease to exist”; (iv) Senior Congress leader Mr. Digvijay Singh’s series of alleged controversial statements relating to Batla house encounter, the killing of ATS Chief in 26/11 terror attacks, Malegaon blasts-calling these as “Hindu terrorism” has been caught on wrong foot several times, so also allegedly calling Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Natarajan “100% tunch maal” (pure commodity) in a public gathering in Mandsaur district in MP is totally uncalled for; (v) Rahul Gandhi’s controversial remark at Punjab University, “seven out of 10 youth in Punjab have drug problems” that hurt the sentiments of the locals; (vi) TRS Chief Sri K.Chandrasekhar Rao’s alleged statement on 3rd Aug,2013 stating, “Andhra employees working in Telengana will have to go back to Andhra after bifurcation was unbecoming”; (vii) TMC leader Mr. Subrat Mukherjee’s alleged remark on WB Governor (for his statement on violence in the Bhangar area of West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district) saying that, “not to go by media reports to target the government, said he was only showing him [Governor] the “yellow card” now, but surely the “red card” could follow”; (viii) Farooq Abdullah’s alleged statement, “If you want, you can fill your stomach for 1 or Rs 100, depending on what you want to eat. We are working to change the life of the poor so they can eat well be healthy and India can progress,” (ix) Conress leader and Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma triggered a controversy by stating that “Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had links with terrorists and was corrupt and a ‘dacoit’; (x) Maharastra Dy. Chief Minister Sri Ajit Powers alleged unbecoming statement, “ If there is no water in the dam…Should we urinate into it?” kicked up a controversy in the state reeling under severe drought; (xi) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ‘s alleged statement that, “ the death of 22-year-old Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leader Sudipto Gupta was an accident and not a result of ‘police atrocity’ and last year, Mamata in yet another controversial statement came to fore blaming dengue outbreak in the State on dieting”(xii) MNS Chief Raj Thakare’s report remark on Chhath Puja ( a popular festival of UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand) as “a drama and show of a numerical strength..” (xiii) Describing Gujrat CM, Narendra Modi as “desi Obama” by veteran Congress leader Sri Digvijay Singh, and so on. Realising the disastrous consequences of such statements, the President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan recently urged political leaders, stakeholders and elders of his country to stop making provocative statements capable of dividing the country, stressing the need for statements that will build Nigeria. The reasons for such statements, as political analysts attribute to appease a particular section or class of the people in the society, to attain cheap popularity, to be visible in media- which sometimes, however, brings negative impact on the voters. Therefore, the politicians should have some home work before addressing a public gathering or media persons and must think before they act. This would bring them good political dividend. If good sense prevail, the leaders should agree not to distribute ticket to any person with criminal back ground or any convict to ensure the forthcoming election a free and fair one.
What issues the 2014-prime minister need to address?
Sometimes, a person who suggests such reforms or ideologies to politicians or the parties in the best interest of the nation is being considered as a lunatic or philosopher. Voters are the supreme stack- holders of every democratically elected government. Keeping these factors in mind, the future Prime Minister of the Country and the parties who are going to form next government at the Center in the forthcoming 2014 election should have the ability to address the following:
(i) To bring down the inflation between 3-4 as the optimal level and to control the prices of essential commodities like, Rice, Dal, Refine Oil, Sugar, Patato, Nuts, and Onion at an affordable cost as was under Vajpayee’s regime;(ii) To strengthen the value of Indian rupee at Ten per one US Dollar; (iii) To develop indigenous highly sophisticated missiles, sophisticated arms and ammunitions, war-airplanes and such other defense equipments as a strong deterrent measure to independently counter all super powers of the world including China, US, and Pakistan without seeking or bagging assistance from any country for safeguarding the territorial integrity sovereignty of our country as evident from the last few years during which India received threats and repeated intrusions from neighbors which was never witnessed earlier in such magnitude and India should be capable to strike any part of the world, if there is a threat perception;(iv) To provide adequate infrastructure in terms of space, adequate manpower (judges) including supporting staff, and modern technologies and tools to all the Honorable Courts in India mandating the time of disposal of any case-be it criminal or civil with in a period two years from filing the charge sheet against the accused to expedite the award of justice under judicial reforms and to dispose of all pending cases making the courts to function on shift basis and additional hours, if required, to complete the backlogs after due consultations with the honorable SC; (v) To bring reforms in the PR Act mandating right to recall and right to reject candidates contesting elections by the voters; (vi) Making suitable legislations to restrict the number of parties to a limited strength to avoid mush room growth of political parties which sometimes contribute to destabilization of the government in power; (vii) to integrate all rivers in the country visualized by A.B. Vajpayee in order to ensure a permanent solution to the problem of drinking water in the country round the year; (viii) to make India self sufficient in power sector so that the power remains at the door steps of the citizens round the clock during 365 days of the year; (ix) Make irrigation facilities 100% to all cultivable lands; (x) as a part of decentralization of power, all national level institutions must have an office in each State Capital and UT to ensure public access at ease; (xi) to encourage young and enthusiastic scientists, university teachers, and research personnel with attractive incentives for new inventions, discoveries and patents; (xii) to ensure employment guarantee to all- this will minimize criminal activities; (xiii) to make suitable legislation to keep all Corporations, Municipal Towns, NAC towns of the country utmost clean, pollution free, and hygienic which should be mandated and should be made condition precedent for release of funds by the Ministry of Urban development as the condition of roads, drainage system, and sanitation condition of most the cities and towns are the garbage and mosquito breeding centers causing serious health hazards for the citizens; (xiv) to ensure that, all retired employees and senior citizens should not come under tax net (if they are not associated with any business); and(xv) to ensure 50% concession to all media persons, journalists, and senior citizens while travelling in Bus, rail, and in air tickets uniformly throughout the nation; (xvi) to bring and confiscate black money deposited by the Indians in foreign banks and spend the amount in development works of the nation, and (xvii) to take the people of all sects, castes, and religions into confidence and maintain brotherhood and harmony in the society without any discrimination.
By Prof K C Panda
(Author is former Dean of Sambalpur University)