What real change India would get from the Congress and the BJP parties? In the next elections?
Will the Congress and the BJP go for real change in politics? Economics? Or, social sector reforms?
Barack Obama has done the world proud. He is not only the first black president of the USA, his youthfulness, his idealism and his simple and effective language, not only touched the emotive chord of the American people, it looks the very same enthusiasm seems to reverberate in the rest of the world.
Now, within India it there is rather no such visible sign.
L.K.Advani, the leader of the Opposition might have launched his website and imitate Obama. That itself is a gain for the young voters in India. But as for policy changes, Advani seems is not ready as yet. So, how he hopes to catch the tech savvy youth of India?
As for the Congress, it is in real dilemma. One the one side sits or rather waits the PM in the wings. How to ease him out of the job in a gentle and delicate way? Rahul Gandhi’s own agenda for change is yet to take shape. Is he first ready to taken on the reins?
So, change for India is a series of dilemmas for the Indian parties!
The PM, for one, seems to have been rudely awakened to a new reality in world politics and ironically in the domestic politics too. No one explained and yet we looking from a distance can discern some strange happenings in New Delhi. When his much admired supposed “friend” George Bush having been dismissed by the American people by voting so magnificently for Obama, the new comer with a new message of change, Manmohan Singh suddenly developed cold feet and he set off to a far off country. Unfortunate for him, this time there is no other country available for his jaunt and so he chose to go rather to the unglamourous Gulf region, some names we can’t even care to remember.
What the Indian Prime Minister has an agenda of sorts in Oman and the god-forsaken Muscot? Nothing, it seems!
Who in the Gulf would understand Manmohan Singh’s obscure economics or his concerns for energy or environment or climate change or the plain staple of economic reforms as such for country like Oman!
So, the Pm seemed to have been caught by some inner fear about his own future in the Congress party that is suddenly caught in another storm. This time, the Margaret Alva’s outburst about the Congress party “sold” tickets in the Karnataka Assembly elections and this came as a bolt from the blue.
All the time, the Congress party seemed to have become immune to the criticism of any unfair deals, though deals of various types are conducted by both the party insiders as well as the outsiders like the industry heavy-weights.
Now, Margaret Alva, coming from an eminent Congress family herself, her in-laws, the Alvas, had the unique distinction to becoming the MPs at the same time, a feat not matched by any other family in India.
So, Alva has this pedigree and standing in the party, she was not only a long standing insider and was very close to Sonia Gandhi and for her now to suddenly to come in the open and say such serious charges of corruption within the affairs of the Congress party was unthinkable.
Alva’s own son and one or two other prominent leaders (one is the senior Karnataka leader Jafer Sharief) were also denied to field their own progeny. This was done by the Central observers of the party’s elections in Karnataka; Prithviraj Chavan is one and whose name is also being mentioned in the shady deal. It now comes out as reported and commented upon in the local newspapers that one or two names are even mentioned. One was removed by S.M.Krishna who was also put in charge of the elections by Sonia Gandhi and whose candidacy was also denied and who was also not projected as a potential Chief Minister. It was till now reasoned that because Sonia Gandhi listened to bad advice or she was incapable of taking sound decisions that the party lost the crucial four or five seats from Bangalore city.
Otherwise the Congress would have returned to power.
Now, it transpires that one more name is mentioned as the conduits through which money was passed on to the Central observers, the money so collected never went to the party’s central office and obviously pocketed by these upstart leaders around Sonia Gandhi.
It is mentioned that as much as Rs.5 crores per ticket was collected and the tickets, the tickets were sold this way and so the candidates, obviously unworthy of the honour lost the elections.
So too now in the recent by-elections to the Legislative Council too the Congress lost all seats.
Now, may be in her wisdom, Margarest Alva, such a senior and long time friend of Sonia Gandhi thought fit it was time to intervene and she dared the Congress establishment openly.
And, significantly, she is not alone in this exposure. Closely come another veteran Congressman and a leader in his own right. He is Yogendra Makwana, president of the party’s Scheduled Castes Cell at the AICC.
He says that the party tickets were being sold and he cited two, at least two women candidates, had been asked to cough up money by “decision-makers”. He of course refused to name them but then he is so confident of facing the “consequences”
Now, the point is that the party president Sonia Gandhi must be fully aware how her reliance on chosen favourites within the party is proving to be unworthy of her trust in them.
Of course, this sort of weakening of party loyalties or trust is natural. But then a leader must act. “Act swiftly” is the new Obamism, the new political mantra of the times!
Of course, there are various ways in which to look at the way the Congress party had functioned in the current times. There are over-ambitious persons within the party. There are old and new men and women, too ambitious, too jealous and too fast too!
Given the favourites in key positions, within the party as well as within the government, it is time Sonia Gandhi does some weeding out of the undesirables and of proven non-performance. This is the least one can expect from Sonia Gandhi.
With all sycophancy around the leader, it is clear that Sonia Gandhi hadn’t shown any leadership when it comes to building up the party as truly national and traditional strongholds in all the states.
The party had now shrunken into a coteries-driven, leader-centered one-person party. Very much like some of the hero-worship parties. This might suit those parties, not to the 123 years old Grand National party like the Indian National Congress. The Congress party needs to remember always it is a mass party and as such must have a large body of mass leaders distributed in all states. Sadly, this is not so today.
In the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states, Alva pointed out that as many as 23 candidates are all sons or daughters of sons-in-laws of prominent Congress leaders.
Seniors like Arjun Singh and Ajit Jogi got two of their family members fielded as candidates!
This worst type of internal dissensions and “free for all” ownership of the party based on loyalty or some other means of influence in a party like Congress should not surprise anyone.
But then the very internal dynamics towards gross misuse of influence could send the party into wilderness in no time.
So also the unenviable position of the Prime Minister. Where does the PM come in or fit in?
Nowhere, it seems.
May be he is also aware his days are being numbered. The rivals and critics of the PM, that is criticism of his way of usurping the legitimate claims of others is seen in the way the Pm suddenly seems to have become rather a man on the periphery.
His politics and his politics, whatever they are, be it nuclear deal or others, now seem a bit gone out of fashion.
The outside world is caught in the Obama mania and the slogans that resonate the capitals of the world are again Obama’s own. Change, action, and change for a new hope, action, and action swiftly, these are worlds from another world.
What is new and inspiring from inside India?
No, nothing, it seems.
The economic slowdown is real and there is dissension within the government itself. The Finance Minister seems a bit immature by his sudden interventionist methods in the RBI, PSBs and the Sebi working. His “dictates” don’t seem to jell with the PM’s own subtle manipulations in the name of a free market economy.
Capitalism is a much-abused word. So, too now the free market economy, as well.
The whole world. USA, China and even the European democracies are all favouring some sort of deign interventionist policies only.
The world economy, as well as the national economies has to be regulated and insulated from the slowdown.
This is not such a simple talk and bravado.
The whole country is being affected. Jobs are being lost, sacking in the IT sector is real and there is apprehension everywhere and in every sector.
So, in such a troubled mood, the elections are on and the general election is near and so every player in the political game is concerned.
The Congress could lose the elections. The BJP might not win all seats for it to form the government. But in combination with other parties, the role of the SJ and BSP pulling in different directions and the regional parties and the CPI(M) also playing its own role ,there is real uncertainty.
So, what the Alva bombshell would impact on the prospects of the Congress party in the coming elections is anybody’s guess.
Money power in politics can’t be underestimated nor dismissed lightly. Parties need money and in a big way. So, how the Congress party would move forward would be watched with keen interest by everyone.