, by DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI
What are the popular expectations from the people’s representatives? Are our elected persons coming up to the expectations of the electorate? Does their behaviour, in and out of State Legislatures and the Central Parliament, reflect the trust that is reposed in them? Are they Model Citizens? If not, why?
Before dealing with these hackneyed questions, let us have a glance at the political trends, thrown up by the poll results in 31 Assembly seats, spread across seven States. The Congress is, once again, on the ascendance in UP, which owes a lot now to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. The Left, which is in doldrums since long, has lost in its age-old bastion of West Bengal and Kerala. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is a victim of its own intolerant and insolent behaviour, is on the decline and may be sucked by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) as the Rightist zealots see hope in this process alone. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is recovering at the expense of the Congress, and the Samajwadi Party is now being deserted by Muslims.
If these trends continue, the elections of 2011 shall constitute a watershed, the chief reason being fragmentation of the main Opposition.
As far as the regional parties are concerned, the SP faces a challenge in UP from the Congress. The Left, which seems to have conceded its defeat before the formal defeat, is not likely to pose any formidable challenge to the Trinamool Congress, which might enter into an alliance with the Congress in West Bengal, after two years. The Congress however is in trouble in Andhra Pradesh. So is the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress may, once again, make a concerted bid for power.
The point is: what trend do these pointers suggest? Do they suggest a transformation for the better?
Has not the Congress-led UPA been in power at the Centre? Has not the BJP-led NDA been in the saddle in New Delhi? Did, rather could, these two dispensations change the quality of Indian life?
For the sake of argument, suppose Ms Mayawati’s party comes to power at the Centre. According to general perception, the sprawling India will see statues of Dalits all over the country.
Suppose Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party comes to power in New Delhi. According to cynics, ‘akharas’ will be dug in all the nooks and corners of Bharat and wrestling would replace cricket. All IITs will be shut down and computers thrown into the Indian Ocean. So on and so forth.
The fundamental question pertaining to quality of life remains unanswered by those who count in public life. We are afraid this question does not occur in order of priorities of our national leadership.
What tops the list of their priorities is: nuclear power, air power, naval power, military power, industrial power, economic power, and, of course, their individual political power as long as they can retain it.
From diplomatic angle, a seat in the UN Security Council is a must, the top guns feel so. To them, equally important is expansion of our area of influence in the West and the South East Asia.
An average Indian citizen has no dispute with this elitist perception. But, the concerned citizens of the country feel, the proverbial Daridranarain continues to remain at the receiving end. Even if these objectives are achieved, the lot of the much-talked-of aam aadmi, who hates to earn through foul means, has not changed. The man-on-the-street continues to remain on the street as the queue for loaves and fishes is too long.
It looks as if nobody is prepared to listen to the case of the common man. His case, in brief, is nobody should be allowed to step on his toes. Social justice should not be denied to him in view of his caste, religion or low income. A policeman should not ask him to grease his palm for discharging the normal official duty. The courts should dispense justice in time so that he has the satisfaction of justice done. His poor daughter should not be molested by the aristocrat sons of his neighbour or tormented by her neo-rich in-laws for bringing less-than-sufficient dowry.
What the political system of the day produces are – honourable exceptions apart – thugs, goons, cheats, swindlers and scamsters. Before showing your extreme displeasure at this statement, be good enough to go through the charge sheets against some of our state legislators and parliamentarians. Where would you place the late Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, who purchased several parliamentarians of the JMM to swell his majority in parliament? Where would you place the latest Mr Madhu Koda, whose illegally earned money is still being counted by the investigating agencies? One can ignore the Harshad Mehtas and Abdul Rahman Telgis who never pretended to be models. But the case of politicians belonging to the ruling party, and the opposition parties is different. They are supposed to have unassailable character, to be emulated by the citizenry.
The saddest part of the story is that this question does not occur to the social scientists of the day. The result is the tweedledums go and the tweedledees come. And the process continues, and continues unabated.