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India’s Political Scene:PEOPLE ADVOCATE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM, 13 April 2006,by T.D. Jagadesan Print E-mail


New Delhi, 13 April 2006

India’s Political Scene


By T.D. Jagadesan

What is happening to the Indian politics these days?  It is just getting worse. Criminals, pimps, rapists, persons who have no soul to sell are candidates for the legislatures across  Some of them become ministers. Corruption is becoming institionalised, sycophancy has become an essential ingredient, with the result that capable and able men and women stay away from politics, that alone can really change the world. the country.

It might be convenient, and even politically fashionable, to whip regional leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav, but a cursory glance at the so-called national political parties does not make for a different story.  The Congress nominees for the recent Rajya Sabha elections showed that only two criteria were used to finalise the list of candidates: sycophancy and corruption.

The list is a virtual who’s who of Congressmen known for abject servility, a professed desire to serve without question, a known and time-tested ability to express their loyality to 10, Janpath, an acknowledgement, voiced frequently that they would be nowhere without the blessings of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Added to this qualification was money, a willingness to churn out the hard cash for the good of the party to represent the Congress in the House of Elders. They are singled out for the special favour because of their ability to flatter, their ability to gather and contribute money, but definitely not because of their ability to influence debates in the Upper House.

The irony, of course, is that when the BJP came to power it claimed it was a party with a difference and would provide a government with a big difference.  And then when the Congress Party came to power, it too said it was a party with a difference, and would provide a government with a big difference.  We are still looking with a magnifying glass for the difference, and can only see that big whirlpool of corrupt, criminal, sycophants swimming from side to side seeking political patronage.

In fact, the difference is so diffused, that the same men and women were advising the BJP-led Government are now advising the Congress, with the same strategy and expertise; the same editors, the same proprietors seen in the corridors of power.  The little journalist wag was so far wrong when he quipped: “ours is an establishment industry.  We move from one establishment to another with total ease.”

Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer was removed from office for several reasons, of which one was certainly not the question of competence.  Iran etc. is well known, but what is probably not so well-known is that money was not flowing into the party coffers from the Petroleum Ministry, and that today is absolutely unforgivable behaviour.

So he was replaced by Murli Deora, a happy Congressman known for his competence in the money market and recognized by successive Congress bosses as a generous contributor. Many who joined him in the Cabinet at the time enjoy the same healthy reputation, as do many others who got into the Congress Rajya Sabha list even though they have been brought in from States other than their own, causing much heartburning amongst locals who were keen for a berth in the Upper House as well.

Eminent persons have ceased looking for political nominations to the Rajya Sabha altogether, as it has become a House to accommodate those who cannot fight a Lok Sabha election or have contested and lost. There is this campaign, and not so subtle, by luminaries of both the BJP and the Congress for a two-party system. 

So the Left is expendable, it is dragging the country down. Jayalalithas and Mayawatis are autocratic, the regional parties suffer from every political sin, while it is only the BJP and the Congress that have the intellectual prowess – the ability and the political acumen to govern. There is no corruption here, no sycophancy, no communalism, no regionalism, just two parties with a national mindset, and the ability to govern.

The advocates of the two-party system, found only in the metros and the chattering classes shifting loyalities from the BJP to the Congress and vice versa, cannot explain why it is that the people of India prefer a third alternative in the States where it is available.  The BJP and the Congress exist only in States like Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where they have managed to work closely together to prevent a third alternative from emerging. In Gujarat the two manage by holding hands on the issue of communalism, with Chief Minister Narender Modi buying peace with the Congress.

On major issues, the responses of the BJP and the Congress Party are very similar, if not identical.  Both dislike the Left parties, and do not hesitate to attack the Left-of-centre ideology that they like to describe as archaic, unenlightened and regressive.  Assured of the support of the chattering classes, and their representatives in the media, currently both the BJP and the Congress are indulging in unprecedented Left bashing, as if by doing so they will be able to turn attention away from the real issues that bound this country.

So the Left is wrong because it stands up for the working classes and the trade unions and not the management because it voices the plight of the poor farmers and not the seed MNCs, because it insists on factoring in the toiling masses into the policies of unbridled globalization, because, in short, it brings the poor, impoverished face of discriminated India on to the map.

The people have travelled a long way since the country became independent, and even if many dreams have turned into dust, they are not going to surrender their ability to dream of a two-party system. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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