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Claim of Politicians owning the Government is a blatant myth.
Introduction: In Democracy, definition of Government ‘of the people’, ‘by the people’ and ‘for the people’ meaning that ownership of government and governance shall ultimately rest with ‘People’. The claim of the elected representatives claiming ownership of government is nothing but illogical and mostly a made up ‘myth’ by political class. Democracy has thus become Govt. of Politicians, by the politicians and for the politicians and people are no where there in it.
The inherent perils in Indian Democracy. Unrelenting desire and self centric ambition to gain superiority over other at any cost and ever growing insatiable greed and desire for change being the basic instincts that differentiate the human race, a political setup that envisages any country be ruled by a government Of the People, By the People and For the People, is more an Utopian myth than a realizable reality. It is too ambitious to wish that India, a ‘made-from-scratch-youngish’ Federal nation inheriting long embedded ethnic variations, diverse cultures, social structures, linguistic differences, highly dominating regional beliefs and interests, and unfit ideals from colonialists to become such an Utopian democratic nation too soon.
Democracy is strangled, when the political parties stoop down to use communal feeling of one group against other to come to power and compelled to oppress other communities to appease its supporters.
Democracy is strangled, when ‘Playing dirty Politics’ become the main business and theme of the Government and Political parties that support and oppose the government.
Democracy is strangled when the Government formed by duly elected representatives go logger heads with other stake holders handling process of governance such as Judiciary, Army, Law enforcement bodies, Bureaucrats and heads of constitutionally constituted bodies like CBI, CVC, CAG, EC, HS, etc., with biased political leanings or else.
Democracy is strangled when elected representatives ignore the needs and aspirations of the people whom they represent.
Democracy is strangled when head of States and the Centre under oath of office and supposed to function above partisan politics while in office go around and spread malice against the democratically established and functioning State / Federal Government, for own political gains. It will be only appropriate to make it a rule that the President, PM, CMs and Ministers while being functionary of the Nation or of a State cease to be that of a particular political party and therefore, shall remain politically neutral while under oath of office and shall not participate in election propaganda for any political party in public.
The Vote banks in India: In India there are basically two types of majority vote banks; both having sets and subsets of the other.
- Majority religion based. By sensitizing the malleable in the majority religion, the politicians keep the country divided for their gains.
- The majority of socially and economically backward. Appeased by every party with ‘carrots’ that never to be, and ensure they remain so.
iii. A concoction as a mixture of the above two.
And then, it can become more harmful when political parties’ incite and use various forms of communal feelings for electoral advantage, or various cast based or regionalist interests and interests of self serving crony capitalists.
To give proper representation of all sections of the population and to take care of the interest of all sections of the society, it is necessary to make a major change in the present system of coalition politics. To begin with there are some basic fundamentals discriminating the role of the National parties from that of the Regional parties at the States level.
1. The myth of ‘Majority has the Right to Rule’ in democracy:
In the Indian context, less than about 50% of the total population only have voting rights and of that only about 50% cast their votes. Considering a vote split among three major contestants, a political party that can get 7 to 8 percent of votes could become the largest single party and a party or a coalition of parties that can manage between 9 to 11% of the votes of total population get absolute majority.
For example, in 2014 general election what BJP secured is only about 13% of the number of eligible voters in the country and Congress got 9%. A one to two % shift can tilt the scale either way. In other words the vote share of BJP is only 31% and therefore, cannot fully supersede the voice of the remaining 69%. The type of ‘Democracy of majority rule’ that can be attained with this sort of arithmetic of people’s representation is anybody’s guess. This is one of the major perils of our type of democratic process.
Look at 2014 election:
1.2. Need of responsible opposition in a democracy: In spite of much hyped up 2014 Loksabha election what BJP got is just about 31 % of the votes polled that represents only about 13% of the eligible voters that works out about 9% of the population. Congress got 19.4% that is 9% of eligible voters and 6% of the population. A 1.5% shift can tilt the scale the other way. What majoritarian rule we are talking about.
Notwithstanding the above inherent problems in democracy the people are destined to live with, it is only fair for every Indian to aspire to have sober and stable governments at Federal level that could take care of the needs of all the people in the country irrespective of their Socio-economic levels, faith order / religious beliefs or political leaning and their representative strength in the Federal system.
For this, it is imperative that the representatives of the factions inside the ruling coalition to behave with responsibility in taking along all, and those outside the ruling party or coalition, to realize that they are the next majority stake holders based on the overall percentage of votes polled, to cooperate with the progressive programs of the democratically elected ruling coalition governments, to push the country forward instead making themselves of mere nuisance value by blindly opposing all policies for frivolous reasons, merely for the sake of opposing with sole aim to obstruct governance or to bring it down somehow.
1.3. The Executive/ Bureaucracy /Judiciary shall be the main custodians of Governance.
Governance can be done only by the right persons who have the right knowledge, right training and experience. In the present set up of electoral rules and practices, it is impractical to have the right people with right knowledge for the right job through current electoral process.
Governance need to be handled only by well experience people who are exclusively trained for that. India had inherited a well defined hierarchy with enough and more rules and regulatory mechanisms that could take care of every needs of governance. The system comprises adequately trained and experienced Executives and Bureaucrats who are deemed to be appointed by the Government on behalf of the ‘people’ and therefore, shall be the main custodians of governance as far as the process of governance is concerned. This shall be applicable from President, PM to CMs, Ministers, MPS, MLAs and down to Sarpanchs. Why can’t we have a qualified IAS to look after every Panchayat under the elected representative and the District authority. We have enough and more well educated hands begging for jobs all over the country. In that sense, don’t we find the debates going on everywhere and in the media for and against the need for people with commensurate qualification for every job is nonsensical. There need be no qualms about a Chaiwala or a serial film actress heading Governments as far as they are elected by people in a democratic process for that; only thing is they need to do it by adequately qualified and experienced people.
1.4. Governance shall be a continuous process:
Every development scheme and socialistic program need to planned with futuristic forethought and forecast and meticulously implemented in phases that may spread through many five year plans and often than not under different political set up. Continuity of governance needed for planning and implementation of country’s such time consuming programs based on predefined policies can be achieved only by the Executive / Bureaucracy. Governments cannot act like Temple or Church committees and irrespective of the nature of the political set up in the Government, Governance shall be a continuous process that cannot be effectively ensured with so called musical chairing ‘Ayaram – Gayaram’ political masters.
1.5. Politicians are just middlemen between the people and Government.
People being the owner of Government and the Executives / Bureaucrats its custodians, job of elected representatives is to interact and to take the needs of the people to the Executives and Bureaucrats who are the custodians of Governance, and to see that these are rightly implemented by them.
The important function of these elected representatives shall be to jointly make or amend laws and rules on behalf of the people who elected them, that are required to enable smooth and effective governance. Therefore, it logically makes the position of the elected representatives, just the middlemen between the ‘people’ and the ‘Government’ through whom people interact with and controls its government.
1.6. Political class in India had reversed the process of governance.
The form of well established hierarchical form of governance only can make governance functional, responsible and answerable. Unfortunately, the situation prevailing now is no where near the above mentioned hierarchical process we had in ester days. The political class who are there as elected representatives on a short term basis have entirely hijacked and reversed the process making themselves the sole owners and custodians of both Government and Governance and made the Executive / Bureaucracy irrelevant, ineffective and thereby insignificant. Democracy has got redefined as A government of the ‘Politicians, by the Politicians and for the Politicians making the People nowhere in it.
1.7. Bureaucracy is made scape goats for political misdoings.
If we closely analyze the issues concerning the nation as a whole, it could be seen that the main cause of most of our problems being experienced in India, both in the Federal system and in the States, are due to the fact that the Political Masters misuse Executive and Bureaucracy and make it dance to their tunes and then make it the scapegoat for all their mismanagement and failures. What is the use of crying hearse about systemic deficiencies in every ministries and departments when the system itself is willingly made non-functional. It is high time to put the hierarchical way of governance back on tract if the nation has to survive, the earlier done the better.
Unless we look into the real reasons of our failures, any amount of agitations, andolans and anushans, and bringing in of extra-constitutional bodies like Lokpal /Lok aukths etc., etc., cannot set right the country. The root cause of the problems of Black money within and stalked abroad, Corruption, Price rise/Inflation, Growth of ethnic & communal rifts etc., are mainly due to the systemic failures, because any Government however politically strong it could be, cannot directly handle the Governance by it’s political masters alone without right systems in place and full indulgence and support of people who are supposed to manage it.
Please see my blog: Inception of technology, not LOKPAL, is the solution. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-on
2. Politics is about being Pragmatic.
Nonetheless, Politics is about transgressing via media between ‘Perfect’ and ‘Practical’. Discretion between the Political heads and the Executive is that while Bureaucrats like horses with blinds have the tendency to look at matters pertaining to their own area with singular view point whereas Politician have the responsibility to have a birds eye view of various aspects related to individual and inter-related areas of governance and supposed to take decisions accordingly in more cohesive manner.
In short, while the responsibility of the political class as short term stake holders in the Government and in the process of governance in democratic system that begins and ends in a periodic manner, governance of the country need to go on continuously run by the hierarchy of Executives /Bureaucracy, unhindered by politicians and political chaos created by skewed political class those ruling and in the opposition with different ideologies and self interests as seem to be there always.
Inception of IT and bringing Governments in Corporate mode with modern management tools in place is the solution to improve process governance further.
Please also see relevant parts of my blog that I originally published in May 2004 and modified time and again: ‘The Bitter Pills for India Reprieve’. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-5I and Indian Citizens Advisory Community Organization (ICACO) http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-b4
Author: Abraham Paul. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @PA_Paul