Monday, May 18, 2009

At what cost victory?

Well, I will dwell on the elections one last time, now that it is all over and the results have surprised many – not only the Tamil Nadu results, but the results for India as a whole. Various reasons are being trotted out by experts on television news channels, columnists, reporters, politicians themselves and even voters. But who can really say what went right for the Congress and what went wrong for the BJP? Or how the DMK combine managed to prove pundits wrong by making the strong AIDMK-led combine irrelevant, at least for the short term? The one good thing that has come out of all this that we can look forward to some stability at the centre, unless the unpredictable happens. And in Tamil Nadu, for at least the next two years, we need not worry about the sound and fury of election campaigns.

Let me end by once again referring to N.S. Venkataraman, who stood from the South Chennai parliamentary constituency. I keep referring to him, not because I receive his emails (which is one small reason) but because he represents the ideal leader – somebody who is middle class, likes to be honest and straightforward, and who cannot tolerate corruption and nepotism. Sadly, people like him are almost like outsiders in today’s world. Indeed, it is about corruption and nepotism that he writes about, stressing that both aspects remain undefeated. This is what he says:

The parliamentary election has come and gone but corruption and nepotism in the country remain undefeated. Several hundred crores of rupees have been spent by political parties in the just concluded parliamentary elections. Obviously, such several crores of rupees have been collected by many political parties by corrupt and dishonest methods and such money has been used by them in conducting campaigns and bribing voters by several methods. What is very sad about this election is that corruption has not been an issue at all and both the political parties and the common man seems to have accepted corruption as an acceptable way of life.
In the earlier elections, corrupt money used to be spent and taken in discreet ways, fearing adverse public opinion or action by law enforcing agencies. In these elections, corruption has been practised openly with both the political parties and several people who accepted corrupt money for voting, shamelessly and openly. With many products of such corruption now entering the Parliament, to control the country's administration and fate, the future looks very gloomy. India is bound to go through a phase of dishonesty at many levels even in more intense ways that would ultimately do tremendous harm to the fibre and fabric of the society. The poor and deprived are bound to suffer much more.

Concerned right-thinking people who can understand the grim scenario should not accept defeat and remain silent. The battle for probity in public life should be waged strongly and relentlessly in the coming years for the sake of this great nation. It is obvious now that probity and honest way of life cannot be ushered into India through the electoral process as good people with great and lofty motives cannot win elections in such corrupt conditions. The Election Commission may be a good administrator of elections and framer of stringent regulations but is a very poor enforcer of the guidelines. Therefore, it is naïve to expect that Election Commission would be able to prevent corruption in the elections. Under the circumstances, the only alternative is to fight for Gandhian standards in national life and to restore truth and honesty in public sphere by waging battle in forums other than in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. As corrupt politicians and political parties cannot be defeated in the electoral process , the alternative is to defeat them by mass struggle and building very powerful public opinion against the corrupt elements.

The task is clearly cut out and the ball is in the court of the concerned Indians who swear by truth and honesty at any cost.

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