Political morals and political legitimacy
The current contradictions and confusions raise many questions!
Democracy in India is now reduced to numbers games.All norms and high principles are thrown away.So,the coalition politics has been taking so many opportunistic survival strategies.
Do political morals and political legitimacy matter in a democracy?Is Indian democracy at this point of time acquired some sound survival strengths?Or,our current compromises of various sorts can also lead to political instabilities we saw in the past?Some thoughts on the goings-on in Delhi corridors of power.
Dr.Manmohan Singh’s completion of three years in office and its report to the people saw some unexpected negative fall-outs.
First,there was not even an element of satisfaction or a mood for celebration at the ruling quarters.The event went off unnoticed.Sonia Gandhi and Singh showed the the media their report card and that was all the people saw.In fact,there were harsh criticism of the three year work of the government by both the ally ,the Left and also the main Opposition,the BJP.Both had their criticism in harshest possible language and even there were an element of ridicule in the BJP language.The party called the PM just half a PM,targeting Sonia Gandhi as the real power centre.The Left had enough material to
criticize the ally which it supports from outside.
The Congress has just 145 seats in a Parliament of 540 members and yet it manages with the Left’s solid 60 member support from outside.From being outside the helps the Communists so many embarrassment.In fact,the Left got off easily from its own great embarrassment after the West Bengal government’s new policy of industrialization and the police firing ,the; the loss of lives etc.This was the most unexpected embarrassment for the Left and in fact,the Left is let off easily by the simple arithmetic of the Central government’s pathetic dependence on its vote for the Government’s survival.
Much more damaging is the conduct of its other ally,namely,the DMK from the South.Here is a regional party that had evolved out of a hate campaign against the North domination,then a demand for a separate state and then from a caste combination to changing its allies at the Centre for the sake of share of power in Delhi.So,the DMK has no definite set of principles other than sheer opportunism and this opportunism is served with such blatant lack of any decorum or concern for the long term implications for any conventions,be it a coalition dharma or a Cabinet system or even for the long term aspects of a seriously drawn up development agenda.
From economic reforms to governance to conceding to too many unreasonable demands,the Centre is made a captive at the hands of its supremo Mr.Karunanidhi whose mindset cant be fathomed easily.He is a combination of so many strands in political and psychological paranoia.
The Left is the real fly in the ointment.It holds Sonia Gandhi to ransom again in a blatant manner.The Left and the DMK joined together had acted as real brakes on any major economic reforms and all these obstructive tactics is not based on any reasoned and rational high principles of political ideology.
The Left believes not in any real alternative ideology,alternative to the current or the past Russian or Chinese Communist ideologies.The CPM once proclaimed its doctrinaire approach to something like to being the line of the Chinese Communist party.The CPI is a spent force and it also doesn’t know how to proceed further,other than tagging with the CPM.The CPM and the CPI ,along with their other Left allies,the minor parties ,Forward Bloc and others have no known and popularly acceptable political platform,except some unquestioned submission to some defunct and scattered leftist thoughts.Unluckily,the economic changes have been so radical in the last decade that even the trade union movement and also the coming of new IT industry and other service sectors had diluted all fervor for any trade unionism.
They have been acting as real brakes on reforming the banks and the insurance companies where the leftist unions have some organised strength and as the public perception goes these two sectors are the still only old type of public sector understandings.The benefits that would flow from their reforms for the larger sections of people are unfortunately suppressed thanks to the obstructionist tactics of the left-affiliated unions.This white collar mafia is the only last bastion of the left movement in the country.
But there are cracks.In Kerala,the CPM is openly quarreling within itself.Only in Indian Communist party we see a reigning Chief Minister and his general secretary are both simultaneously “suspended”from the so-called Polit Bureau.
The very Polit Bureau has lost its rationale after it had failed to guide the West Bengal government’s new industrial policy and the very new industrialization policy is now dumped for all practical purposes.No one has a clue when there will be any new initiative.In fact,the two leading lights,the Polit Bureau members,Prakash Karat,the secretary of the CPM and Sitaram Yechury are not popular leaders either.They are just Delhi-based white collar party members,just like any other office going middle class professionals.May be they can be described as the most cultivated political professionals in the scheme of things and they derive some legitimacy not from within their own party but from their proximity to the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi.These two leaders have assiduously cultivated the duo for the obvious reason their okay is needed some of the sensitive issues like dis investment,FDI etc.
The Left’s political reach is an illusion for all purposes and in the next general elections,they are likely to lose more seats than gain more.
Likewise,the where would the DMK go,now with its internal power struggles arising out of the family quarrel within the DMK family.
Very likely,the party might split,given the fact that the Sun TV and its media power and the money power effecting some unprecedented split.
Given the ideology-less DMK’s current power seeking strategy,the DMK was first aligned with the BJP,its ideological enemy and now with the Congress,again,the Congress is an uneasy ally considering the past events(Rajiv Gandhi assassination and the Elam Tigers issues) and therefore soon there could be trouble within the Congress party itself,not only in its TN unit but also from the all India party at the national level.
There is also now an open call from Haryana party leader,Bhajan Lal and his son,the powerful MP,Mr.Kuldip Bishonoi”launched a contemptuous attack on Mrs.Gandhi and her son,Rahul Gandhi asking them to relinquish their leadership of the Congress party and prove their credentials by wining elections in the coming days.The UP elections,he says,pointedly that Rahul would have to work very hard to prove his future in politics.The son has his aging father,a powerful leader in his own right,Mr.Bhajan Lal was overlooked in favour of the current CM,Mr.Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The point is that the current coalition arrangement has brought about not only a weakening of the functioning of the Central government,it has led to so many humiliations for the government,it has been thrust on many unqualified ministers on the pressure from the DMK and also it has to suffer so many insults by conceding to a regional ally in the conduct of the Central government,its decorum and governance norms are all diluted to the point of leaving many major problems left undecided.
The Supreme Court is burdened with so many intractable policy issues,be it Cauvery river water sharing issue or the very sensitive OBC quota issue.
For the sake of seeking allies the Congress has conceded too much.In Kerala it lost many seats,from 62 to 24.In West Bengal it lost ,reduced to 21 in a house of 293.Even in TN,though there are some 50 Congress MLAs,they have been reduced to nobody s by the DMK’s obduracy not to accommodate in any coalition.The DMK has the audacity to run a minority government while it demanded and got all the major Cabinet portfolios for its very inexperienced and unequal members,at the same time,it nominates the members to the Central government by sitting inchennai.
Certainly,Sonia Gandhi has cut a sorry figure,no less the helpless and yet power-hungry Dr. Singh! His seeking a third time, a seat in the Rajya Sabha no less elicited public ridicule producing before the Supreme Court his ration card,rent receipt and electricity bill from a fault in Assam when the whole country knows this is a fraudulent activity!
Such is the fall of our public morality,our political morality and time-honored values!
So,when we look back and do a brief survey of the past 100 years of the evolution of political ideology,till the fall of Communism in 1989,there has been too much of a violent attempt to write a political ideology.There hasn’t been any open and liberal time so far.Only now,there is a glimmering hope we can at least try a liberal and open and a more transparent ,shall we say a more honest and moral stance in an open democracy.
It will be prudent on the part of the power wielders today,if they realise what they are doing now in the name of political survival is also fraught with such great moral issues of the times.Survival is one thing but to survive by throwing all morals to the wind has its own heavy price to pay!