What is crony capitalism?
Election 2014 and how it has confused Indian voters, this time?
There is much talk and much hype and debate during these coming general elections.
An unprecedented pitch is created thanks to Mr.Narendra Modi’s relentless, all-out, ambition to project himself as the next Prime Ministerial candidate. This is rather unusual for the Indian election scenario.
The usual Congress assumption that it is the natural governing party is missing this time. Rahul Gandhi though projected as the party’s choice, there is neither any wide belief in the country nor in the very party he heads that he is really capable of making it this time. For the simple reason he is not upto it, in the opinion of impartial observers.
But what makes this context really unusual is the way his opponent, Narendra Modi is going about his campaign. There is evidence that big money is flowing into the election. There is also concern and even some debate about how much money, from the big corporate houses, there are also some partial list of the big donors, of course all are known names and these donors are really called the crony capitalists!
The Economist of London has run an editorial and also a write-up on Indian corruption scandals etc.
Not to be left behind there are also Indian newspapers and journals, specially the English languages ones who have written long articles on crony capitalism.
The amount of election donations, though, in la, they are to be done in a transparent and laid down manner, everyone knows that in India with the sort of close links the private industry maintains with the government, with the politicians and party leaders and bureaucrats and a various number of power brokers in various disguises, and also the media which is another big factor an force, both the print media and TV news channels also have big industrialists taking equity in a big way, there is nothing mysterious about the powerful hold the election process is subjected to by private ,profit-seeking capitalists.
So, where do we draw the line? The line that would hold back and regulate the process of funds flow into the electoral process that for the government is estimated to cost something like 3,000 crore. The expenditure that would be made by the parties and candidates in really unfathomable!
The 2014 general election, we can say with some confidence, would prove to be the most corrupt election process in the world. Why?
India is the world’s largest democracy and the Indian election process is spread over some 7 days and the vast scale and its logistics is something to be wondered.
One positive outcome is that the Indian Election Commission is a new force for the world’s other democracies.
India has come out of this election process every five years since Independence in 1947, is perhaps the greatest Indian success story!
Now as for election funding, there is much progress by way of new organisations, NGOs and other civil society groups from Election Watch, to Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR) and many others, citizens groups that are every active and very successful in researching and reporting and exposing the wrong doings in the Indian democratic system.
So, with all the named and unnamed crony capitalists who are listed and even hiding, they are all watched and their donations are scrutinised. There have been lots of progress in fighting corruption in high places and the result is the present pathetic state of the UPA-II’s exposes.
So, the question is that even with such a high profile and the most expensive advertisement offensive that is behind both the Congress and BJP candidates, it is anybody’s guess whether the two would really emerge as the winners.
That is the charm and maturity of the Indian democratic system. Rahul Gandhi, as we have noted, is still seen as immature. In fact, his experience in the government is near zero.
How can such a great and diverse country like India can pick up a young man like him to preside over the India’s challenging issues. Its economy, politics, its foreign policy etc. So too Mr.Modi whose knowledge of the great issues, economic, social and politics and foreign policy is considered very limited.
Also, more than other things, Mr.Modi represents a party that has a rightwing ideology, it is considered very communal and its other aspects are also disturbing. The Indian Muslim population is also sought to be polarised by some of the parties including the BJP.
On the other hand, the BJP with all its limitations on such sensitive issues like religion and secularism it has its own cosy links with crony capitalists.
So, how the BJP would define its economic vision, what are its specialist solutions to economic growth etc?
Luckily, there is some internal democracy within the BJP. There are more senior and more experienced leaders within the BJP. The same can’t be said about the Congress.
With all its long history and traditions, it had shrunk into a dynastic, one-family oriented party where the shots are called by one or to persons, and also by some close coterie of sycophants. This is most disturbing.
The one way to go about reforming the Indian political process is to undertake a large scale political reform and come back to some of the established institutional disciplines. The various wings of the party (Congress) must be run in an open and transparent manner. Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister haven’t given one press interview or subjected themselves to questioning by the TV media.
The same thing applies to Mr.Modi. What’s sort of honesty and cleanliness we talk about?
The middle classes are now noisy and the Aam Aadmi party had done really some good work and changed the very election process.
The fresh faces they have fielded should be a contributing factor for ending the black money menace an also must help to banish the most corrupt among the party leaders, among the candidates who had dared to trust the election waters.
We can be sure that this time there will be a sort of peaceful revolution in ending crony capitalist’s power over the wakened electorate and the corrupt elements would be driven out.