Arbitrary party management! Unaccountable government?

Issues for economic and social development.

H.R. Bhardwaj

The recent Rajya Sabha nominations by the Congress party and also by parties like the JDS and the BJP factions in Karnataka and other such nominations from other states show clearly there is a shift from national consensus on such matters.

Rajya Sabha was meant for the States representation. But a scrutiny of Sonia Gandhi’s choices clearly shows her personal whims and fancies and more seriously her disdain and contempt for any civilized norms.

Clearly her re-nomination Mr.Bharadwaj, the infamous Union Law Minister who enabled the Bofors accused Italian, Quatrrocchi, to take away his funds from the London bank so blatantly against all norms of governance is one such instance of arbitrary exercise of her powers of responsibility in such a high office. Bharadwaj getting re-nominated for the fifth time! This is quite unacceptable and outrages all sense of one’s integrity. Certainly, this must be so for the vast majority of Congress leaders and workers too.

Again, her nomination of total outsiders to contest from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, two Congress-ruled states had enraged the Congress men in these two key states. In Uttaranchal and Jharkand too the very same outsiders are ignoring the local candidates. Also her action to reward some people whom she perceives would help her to play a role in UP where the Congress party is zero is again an action that doesn’t make her strategy seem to succeed ever.

What we see now with Dr.Manmohan Singh heading the government with no political legitimacy also is a peculiar case of the governance of the country where the economy is growing but in a highly uneven manner. You see a high growth in some sectors and very uneven growth in some critical sectors like agriculture and generation of employment.

Neither the Prime Minister nor Sonia Gandhi seems to bother really about the plight of the poor and the weaker sections. The 53 odd widows of the Wynad farmers committing suicides and they are camping in Delhi and seeking justice. Neither of the two leaders had any time to see them and comfort them.

So also the continuing farmer’s suicides seem to concern them. Nor the many schemes announced with much full page advertisements in newspapers like the employment or right for information etc seem to be getting off the ground. We have one explanation. We like to share with the public. Let there be debate and generation of responsible public opinion.

It is this. The states are getting marginalized by the Federal government’s functioning. When you have a Prime Minister who is not elected by the people and he himself is a sort of nominated member of the Rajya Sabha whose very credibility is before the Supreme Court judgment where the elections to the Rajya Sabha are held not by secret vote and also the domicile norm is dispensed with.

Much more is the mindset of the leadership to encourage such violation of norms to serve immediate party and family interests. What is the justification to field Mr.Rajiv Shukla, a Rahul Gandhi buddy to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra? How the states development would be affected by these violations? Very much the local issues of the states are unlikely to interest the outsiders pretending to be representing the states.

There are no institutional innovations to ensure the development funds are first given to the local bodies and second the funds are put into institutional mechanisms so that the targets are really reached. Even the elementary education funds, as from the Central cess, is misused, it is show in the Central government’s revenue expenditure.

The panchayat raj institutions are simply get neglected, because Manmohan Singh doesn’t understand the real political dynamics in the rural India. The PM as a bureaucratic type person doesn’t travel much inside the country, doesn’t find it comfortable to meet the masses, but attends only official functions and utters right words at the right times.

Even his idea of nuclear deal is only now getting some milder criticisms. He doesn’t have any greater vision of ensuring the security of the people, food security should come first, and then their political and social aspirations might outlets through legitimate institutions. Some arbitrary political explosions as in Karnataka where a new and young and dynamic CM, though breakaway groups, is however finding wide public approvals by his faster pace of development administration.

Development, whether fast or slow is the critical element in all these arbitrary politics and administration.

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