With the ideology-neutral mandarins-turned politicians log on?
At least next time please ensure a better quality Parliament!
Nuclear power is beside the core issues of governance and credibility!
But it is not a cheap power and we needn’t have much delusions of easy future for our economic growth. Conventional energy sources have to be exploited for economic growth and economic growth has to be broad-based. Next elections would be fought and won(or lost) by the Congress only on the basis of a leadership that changes the current perceptions about its moral credibility to provide a better governance.
Parliament this time, on the eve of an early possible mid-term poll, proved a disaster, as far as the behaviour of the MPs is concerned. Can we hope the next time, in the next Parliament, Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders would give some thought to go for a better quality of ‘personnel’ to improve the working of the Parliamentary institution.
Yes, the concerns are real. Already, Sonia Gandhi and her advisers have proved they can reduce Indian politics to the lowest common denominator, by ‘selecting’ not the best but the least best! Now with the anointment of Rahul Gandhi can we expect any qualitative change in Indian politics? New Delhi’s new tribe of “amoral” politicians, the mandarins-turned ideology-neutral politicians class (or coterie?)can only tell!
The quality of the men and women elected as MPs seems to be anything to give us an insight into the minds of leaders like Sonia Gandhi or L.K.Advani and even other Opposition bigwigs like Lalu Yadav and M.Karunanidhi, among the most seemingly loyal supporters of the UPA. Sonia Gandhi doesn’t seem to have a clue to the larger picture. How India and Indian polity can be served and improved better. Her so-called points men and women, like Ambika Soni and R.K.Dhawan, the two caught the pre headlines briefly, gave us an indication, as of course lightweights like Jairam Ramesh as to how poor the Congress party has become lately.
There is no mass base whatever for the Congress numbers, it seems. Even the good enough Doctor, the Prime Minister, is now finding himself a liability to the party with the mid-term polls very much nearing alarmingly closer.
The Prime Minister hasn’t created a crisis but he has also not got anywhere after the signing of the Indo-nuclear deal.
He hasn’t won over the people, the masses and the classes, to the next steps in the deal.
Nor, the party is in a shape to face the people in the elections, whenever it comes.
The vote banks, the poor, the rural people, the farmers, the Dalits or the minorities, dont seem to be enthused by the performance of the UPA.despite its much creditable record.
I was talking to a seasoned politician in New Delhi over the phone, a very strong contender for the President’s high office, a sitting Rajya Sabha Member, a former Ambassador to the USA and also a considerable scholar and such other worthy qualities that would go to make a leader in the true sense.
And I was talking and trying to draw him into a conversation on the country’s most important issues like agriculture. The timing and the mood of my conversation didn’t seem to interest him for once I mentioned the word “agriculture” he disowned the subject!
I was wondering: “how this gentleman who aspired to become the President didn’t have the diplomatic knack at least to pay lip service to the suffering masses, at least keep up the politically correct jargon.
Nuclear power’s comeback
Nuclear power is on a comeback trail, after the last two decades of a setback on the issues of Chernobyl accident in Ukraine 1986 and the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979.The nuclear renaissance is also owing to the oil and gas supplies getting caught up in international politics, these are in enemy territories, environment deterioration, rising costs etc.
Also, the new technologies favour a relatively clean nuclear fuel, new reactors coming up in Finland, Australia and USA itself.
The fear is about the civilian nuclear power tech should not lead to weaponisation programmes. So, new regulatory regimes would be tighter and India has to fall in line by shedding our pretences to be a free country with our ‘sovereignty’ intact.
Rather, India should play a more pro=active role in the new regulatory regime and the point is that we have to take our place as a responsible nuclear power.
All these aspects haven’t been explained to the people, nor our MPs who continue to behave as a law unto themselves.
But then I realised that why single out this one person. May be his colleagues, all seniors in the Congress, including the Prime Minister didn’t have the very basic essential credentials to occupy the high seat of the Prime Minister of the country in the first place. And now, with the continuation of the farmers’s suicides unabated, the agri sector resisting all of the PM’s own miserable understanding of the big issues that confront the poverty-stricken mass who are sure to give the Congress a severe punishment in the mid-term elections.
This at the time when I had just read through the news report on the remarks made by the two senior Congress leaders, one a former Chief Minister, another the present one in Maharashtra. Mr.Shankasinh Vaghela, the present textile minister in Delhi said the Vidharbha farmers are lazy and they don’t work, just chew tobacco, the response to that remark from Mr.Vilasrao Deshmukh was: “Yes, the farmers (of Vidharbha are dishonest, they sprinkle water on cotton or insert stones in cotton bales to increase weight before bringing to the procurement centres have evoked an outrage in Vidharbha. Mr.Vaghela was flying in a helicopter and yet he had the audacity to say “I didn’t see any farmers, not a single farmer working in his field, this he said in the Akola conference.
So, there is such an outcry for an apology from the higherups, from Sonia Gandhi and others!
One can be sure that no apologies would be forthcoming from the ruling class. May be such inhumanity on the part of the Congress leaders would only be tested in the forthcoming mid-term elections.
As for the mid-term elections, it looks everyone is now settled for it, given the mindset we find among the Left-UPA deliberations over the nuclear deal.
The BJP is in no mood to debate the issue dispassionately. It is set on dissolving the Lok Sabha so that Mr.Advani whose impatience shows in many of his recent moves and utterances, wants to position himself as the candidate.
The Left has run out of steam. It is idle to comment of the Left tactics, if it is a worthwhile tactics. Intellectuals have written much on their parentage, the Comintern time tactics, to join with popular parties, popular fronts and united fronts and then pull down democratically elected governments and then “seize” power through blatantly undemocratic means.
One hopes the Congress leaders, more so Sonia Gandhi, are aware of the Left tactics and be forewarned about the danger of entertaining any more illusion of getting closer to the Left in forging alliance in the forthcoming mid-term polls.
Then, what alternative roue the Congress party has?
The problem is that Sonia Gandhi caught up in the peculiar culture of the High Command party culture, can’t look beyond the coterie and search for expanding the party’s base.
The Congress party structure is such that no fresh wind can blow through its doors. All doors are tightly shut and the guardian angels are those who have no base.
This is sure to dent the fundamental strengths of the party base.
The more Sonia Gandhi tries to stick to her narrow base and the fragile party base; her unscrupulous chamchas would only drive her to a selection process of thinly-based weak candidates.
We suggest that Sonia Gandhi must spread her net wide. She has to seek for the old guards, the seniors and other old party faithful who are now left out and feel aggrieved and are waiting for a vengeance. We need not name them here and there is no space. But there are any number of the large family of Congress workers, leaders and families and their younger progeny. In Chattisgarh V.C.Shukla and three other leaders have been “readmitted” into the party, mainly owing to the fear of facing the mid-term polls! In AP we have Janardhan Reddy and others, in Kerala Karunakaran and many senior leaders are languishing in limbo owing to circumstances. Even N.D.Tiwari and such leaders are denied their due recognition in higher policy making councils. Old enemies can be new friends in tight situations. So too in other states, Karnataka (where Gowda sons met Sharad Pawar), TN (where Jayalalitha receives L.K.Advani) and elsewhere. Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati are yet to be sized up. In the North the story of “leftovers” too much.
Sonia Gandhi must take some risks. Taking risks for expanding the party base is better than relying on ambitious allies like the DMK and the RJD supremos!
Knowing well that the Congress party today has no inner force, no coherent philosophy and it doesn’t have a leader who injects any confidence in its own philosophy or its own capacity to stand on its policies and performances.
Dr.Singh is an asset and at election time, he is more a liability.
He hasn’t risen up beyond his own limitations. He is not a born leader. He is not, for instance, able to say and defend his position on the nuclear deal.
India has changed a great deal in the last one decade. There is an over-riding confidence among the new middle classes, the software revolution has created an entirely new India, a new generation earning in lakhs, the new millionaires and billionaires, the large migration of educated and talented youth to the American shores has changed the very mindset of the Indian youth.
Dr.Singh while having his own family members well-settled, as also the other wards of the political class, curring across the party affiliations, has given India a confidence to deal with Americans on their own terms.
Dr.Singh is not able to bring this message to the forefront. He is what he has always been. A low-profile, silent and honest worker content to work under someone else’ command.
Promise of better Governance would get the parties the voters’s endorsement
Congress party might still get the largest number of seats in Parliament. But for a new coalition the voters might judge the parties by their promises of better governance. Law and order, fighting corruption, creating and strengthening institutions like Lok Pal, Lok Ayukta, state police reforms, corruption-free rural employment programmes, PDS and the tapping of new and fresh talents into electoral battle etc.
In states like TN and Bihar the Congress allies are liabilities. So too the Left alliance this time might prove costly. Minority votes is uncertain of clear loyalties, every party had betrayed its promises. OBC quota issue remains unresolved.
So, Sonia Gandhi’s charisma is no asset. So too Advani’s over-arched Hindutva radicalism is unlikely to fetch the votes. The Left played out their cards too badly, with Jyoti Basu and Buddadeb having puncture holes in their ideological illusions. There is a clear maturing of the voters, profile this time.
It is only good for the evolution of a more subdued realism in the electoral prospects of various parties.
This is a pity. The quality standards of our MPs must be raised.
But can Sonia Gandhi imagine that she can run a great country like India with crutches? She cant and she shouldnt. That will be costly not just for her personally but for the country’s larger interests. This hard truth no one would tell her so openly.
But we believe that someone must tell her and also the country that India needs a new wind to blow through the political corridors.
Indian democracy is more important and for that we, as citizens and as leaders, must always adhere to some basic principles.
Jimmy Carter, the former US President has written in a recent column as to how Indian nuclear deal is underming world peace and India in the new context must adhere to some principles. “India’s leaders should make the same pledges, sign the NPT as the original five, join the comprehensive test ban treaty “etc. Yes, India in fact, should take the lead to urge the new ones entering this field to do the same.
This, the PM, we are sorry to point out, hasn’t done. Nor the Congress can take the matter lightly and just only be interested in bringing round the Left (which won’t) and also plan for winning the mid-term elections.
Be it farmers woes, or agri sector crisis or the nuclear deal, we are to point out, the Congress has shown an unambiguous insensitivity or concern. It just goes about running the government as a routine job like any other job!
No, this won’t do for a democracy of our size and impact. Our neighbourhood is disturbed, everywhere democracy is on test. So, India must be an open society, let new talents be welcome, let old guards don’t nurture unworthy ambitions to cling on to power as if it is another job!