Let no one do the same mistake as did in 2007

Indian Parliament celebrated its 60 years with due solemnity and appropriate protocols. What was noticeable in the speeches of leaders, from the Prime Minister to Sonia Gandhi and even the Opposition leaders was the stark fact that none of them  recalled  any of the great many names, very distinguished individuals and Parliamentarians and their contributions to the  evolution of Indian Parliament as truly one of the great such institutions in the world.

They all seemed to have confined to some brief appropriate remarks. May be one or two such names like the Ananthsayanam Ayyangar and that too in a more lighter vein, there was not that great Parliamentary oratorical flashes or witty remarks. We, of this generation, why even the older generations, missed such names like a P.G.Mavlankar or even Pandit Nehru or Patel or H.V.Kamath or Nath Pai or Jyotirmay Basu or even Minoo Masani or Piloo Modi or very many  others. Not one mentioned, as I can remember, one woman member of Parliament of yore, like a Parvathy Krishnan (I just met her recently in Coimbatore, happily) or others like Renu Chakravarty or Krishna Bose and others.

Our present day MPs, this is what I am coming to, are very different persons it seems.

What we hear these days more of scams, corruption, criminal records, bribes on camera and such more colorful episodes.

The point here is much more serious as things stand (this is what I am coming) certain unchecked trends and tendencies are likely to drag us into much more deeper troubles and might even create some dangerous situations.

Now, the Presidential elections are due in a few days. Already candidates have announced their names. P.A.Sangma, the former Lok Sabha Speaker and a distinguished MP of 8 times vintage, a tribal leader with a Christian religious background had announced his name first. He is backed by two regional parties, by Odisha and TN Chief Ministers, namely Naveen Patnaik and Selvi J.Jayalalitha.

Ms.Jayalaitha had gone about openly canvassing for Sangma by personally calling over the phone almost all the Opposition leaders, including L.K.Advani and Prakash Singh Badal, two of the senior most Opposition leaders.

This is a great gesture on the part of the TN CM for she is such an outspoken person and she boldly did this open canvassing while  other leaders, big and small ,are confined to their own ideas which are not yet spelt out.

The point here is that the Congress, as being the biggest party, has an edge over other parties and the Congress is also undecided as Sonia Gandhi is not clear as to what she wants to do.

What to do with Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister who is almost at the end of his tenure, as only two years are left for the next election and already it is not clear whether the government would last the next two years, given the current crisis and confusion.

What to do with the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukerjee? To make him the Presidential candidate, as already there is a wide spread demand cutting across the party lines and also whether to make the FM as the next Prime Minister for which also a serious candidate needs to be identified.

Rahul Gandhi seems out. He might not even take over as the Congress President as the mother is not yet ready; it seems, for such changes. Neither Rahul seems inclined to shoulder any direct responsibility, either in the government or in the party. Until such time he makes up his mind, it seems likely that Mrs.Gandhi might prolong the scenario as long as possible.

The point here is that in the coming Presidential elections Mrs.Gandhi should not through any surprise as she did last time!

That is the main worry for many, for the very people of India.

The present incumbent of the Rashtrapathy Bhavan had earned more criticism than applause. The choice was casual and cursory and highly irresponsible, if looked at in retrospect.

That is why this time there is so much discussion and debate and much controversy from day one of the announcement of P.A.Sangma’s name.

As Sangma put it, Pranab Mukerjee is ideally qualified for the difficult job of the Prime Minister with vast experience and here too a better replacement, if at all it takes place in the very near future, is Pranab Mukerjee only.

Here too Mrs.Gandhi should not surprise by proposing some dark horse, some yes men, as she is likely to choose from her stable!
Let us be a bit realistic and let us see what great damage the UPA-II has done for the image of the government and also the record scams it has produced.

History would write off Manmohan Singh’s tenure as a record corruption-ridden regime and all his other claims would be simply forgotten. That is the power of history, the power of the irony of historical “inevitability”. If you are a historiographer, then, you can realise how else also history judges people and events in retrospect. History has place for sanctimonious descriptions, it has no time for sycophancy and much else.

So, the worry is whether any of the key players, the principal characters, the players realise whether they, individually or collectively, are adhering to nay basic principles of political morality, any sense of a democratic polity that should go by collective decision-making at every level.

Or, they imagine, as they seem to be imagining, that with all moral compunctions thrown overboard, they can simply stand in silence and nod to Sonia Gandhi’s own sense of insecurity, as she now moves on for another term of arbitrary exercise of power, by, so to say, her own sense of insecurity.

Let us remember that she was not free of any personal ambitions for power. In 2004 and again in 2009, she did bid for power. She faced problems, numbers and also her own nationality, citizenship issues. This is not discussed openly but then she was very keen to become the Prime Minister.

So, now too she might have some ulterior motive.

So, let the Congress party, a party of 127 year old history and some hoary  tradition, openly raise the Presidential elections, discuss some names, the President must have lot of stature, learning and a keen sense of the people, the history and very embodiment of its great many features, acceptability with no considerations of caste, religion and region etc.

A mature democracy like India must be a beacon of light and hope to other countries.

In Egypt there is a democratic election for a President after some 60 odd years! In Europe, Tito, a friend of Nehru saw his own dear Yugoslavia disintegrate. In Indonesia, another friend of India, has some modicum of democracy, after long tears of military dictatorship. Egypt, Yugoslavia and Indonesia  were friends in India’s(Nehru’s) great Non-Alignment Policy that raised India’s stature very high.
Today, unfortunately, India, despite its other achievements, is not so high internationally in terms of our lack of faith in our own Nehruvian tradition of neutrality.

Our leaders don’t talk, they are not elected directly by the people.
We have a nominated culture that had diminished  both the party and the government.

To re-establish  our old democratic structures in the party and the government today is not easy.

But in my considered opinion and conviction, the only way forward is to get to the democratic norms.

The Congress party must grow and it can only grow only when it allows party autonomy in its various formations, in the states and in the CWC and elsewhere. People with mass contact have to be respected. What is being done today is highly deplorable and dangerous.

So too in government. After all, who doesn’t know most of the nominees in the Cabinet are also handpicked men and women by Sonia Gandhi.

What they all done with their record scams and record non-performance must also be put at the doorsteps of Mrs.Gandhi.
Let us hope wisdom prevails and  everyone performs his or her duty in accordance with the highest sense of ethics and morality.

Image Source : India Today

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