Election Marathon 2014
Political Alternative Needed?
Don’t write off Annaji for not sticking to what doesn’t work. Samam, Danam, Bhedam, Dennam are options in his quiver. Listen instead to rumblings of Vajrayudham, Mass motivation tour, being sharpened as Terminator for 2014 battle.
India needs apolitical alternative in 2014. To achieve it a new political party will be launched. But Anna Hazare himself will not contest any election. His team mates may, if they wish to do so. As prelude to launching his second stage in a new Avathar, Anna has disbanded on August 6/12 his team meant to get a strong Lokpal bill passed,. This in short is the state of India against Corruption movement started over one and half year ago with a lot of fanfare.
Nothing succeeds like success, the same with failure also – giving up hope at the sight of a herculean hurdle. But to reach the unreachable heights one should never give up in spite of unexpected defeats and victories delayed. Both are part of the game in this world of day and night.
Some have already written off Hazare phenomenon, others still continue to pin their hopes on him. What is to be done at this juncture? No one can question the enormous contribution Hazare has made to awaken the nation as one man to stand up against wide spread political corruption from top to bottom which brought even international accolades and support.
Recall Midnight Fiasco
Equally no one can question the fact that political parties of all hues are united and will stay united as one man to block the passing of a strong Lokpal, as proved by the delaying tactics they used for over 42 years which culminated in the last December midnight session of Raja Sabha debate presided over by our present honourable Vice President Hameed Anzari who got heckled for proving himself to be much less than a man above all party politics and impartial, a taint bound to stick to him all through life.
We are now in a deadlock created by two mighty forces. On one side is the united front of all political parties, not merely the ruling coalition led by the Congress. On the other is, not merely Anna Hazare and his team of competent or incompetent leaders, but “we the people” the voting public, especially the young, energetic and literate middle class, who should be supreme in a democracy and who, thanks to Anna’s campaign, is fully ceased of the magnitude of corruption dashing all their hopes for a bright future. Both are staring at each other eyeball to eyeball while the rest of us gasp in angst wondering who will blink first. This is no time to write off anyone of the duo.
Nothing lasts for ever, especially untruth and insolent might of entrenched political forces or people’s power and mass uprising galvanised by the vision of enormity of truth and justice denied. Sathyameva Jayathe! The question is how to make the wrong side blink? No doubt there were extreme positions taken by both sides – lack of democratic functioning on the part of Hazare, failure to come clean of the least taint of corruption among team members and a die hard stand for “Jan Lokpal” and nothing else. On the political front there is adamant refusal to submit itself to a totally independent, non-governmental CBI, lack of transparent functioning and insistence on rubrics of lawmaking to endlessly delay decision taking to protect as many corrupt among them as possible.
Hare Tortoise Marathon
Annaji, old fashioned and no big brain, but honest and humble, has come down from his diehard “Jan Lokpal” to a strong Lokpal. Besides his team is busy correcting its alleged image of being pro-BJP and anti-congress. He has now even accepted the Congress challenge to enter dirty politics and not get dirty. For that he will not be contesting to stay above all party politics. Still the Congress say: “We knew it already!” But it won’t wash with Anna. Since he is holding his trump cards close to his chest, critics can only allege he is piggy backing on a crooked power hungry team. One thing Anna has made it crystal clear. He wants to tour the length and breadth of India to awaken and motivate the hoi-polloi to the enormity of political corruption responsible for the miseries of the common man and of their urgent duty to vote only for corruption-free candidates during 2014 elections because parties cannot be cleansed from without but only from within through honest candidates acting as leven.
I have been proposing this from long ago. I am not a card carrying member of any party as I know all parties are corrupt – some little corrupt (recall the advise “to steal little, not to loot” of an SP minister), some half corrupt, some fully corrupt – and the only way to make them less corrupt is to vote in cleanest candidates in the given situation, or desist from voting at all,if all are equally corrupt. In the process I had voted inadvertently for all parties – right, left or middle -- but only for the better one I could find in the absence of the very best.
Become Leven in Dough
I believe this is the strategy Movement Anna should use. While travelling from state to state, he should try to discover, not which of the parties is better for the particular state, but which are the politicians in all parties in the state shamelessly parading themselves in corrupt practices and are seen thus by the general public. He should then convince people to vote against them irrespective of their party affiliation, to forestall the allegation that he is entering party politics and pitting one party against another. It is the prerogative of the people in each state to support one party rather than another. What is to be ascertained is that each party is infused with fresh healthy blood, that is, honest, service minded leaders who would act as leven to change that party for the better from within.
From the very inception Anna has been against corruption, not in the abstract, but in politics. In that sense he has been meddling in politics from the start, but not in party politics. Since a Congress led government is in power, his attacks on the government of the day came to be interpreted as an attack on the congress. He could not target equally corrupt opposition parties as he stood to gain little from them. Now that phase is over. The new movement is to prepare the voting public in view of the 2014 elections when the country can be provided with a democratic alternative, which would not be led either by the Congress or the BJP vying with one another to become the most corrupt.
Already the veteran BJP leader, L.K Advani has submitted that neither stands a chance in 2014. This is also the thinking of the general public. After the UP elections, I too wondered if 2014 would produce a government led by regional parties, yes led by a youthful face like Akhilesh. There are of course no dearth of honest and energetic CMs in the country who are neither Congress nor BJP. But the question is to find one who has the charisma a Vajpaiji had, to bring under one umbrella a multiplicity of parties and to hold them together. One immediately thinks of three lady CMs, two reigning and one licking the wounds of defeat. The question is whether two ladies can get along well, let alone three, knowing the mercurial or authoritarian steaks in all the three. They have been betraying Prime Ministerial ambitions. Unfortunately we can have only one PM.
Zero can’t turn Hero?
In any case Anna has no such ambitions as he considers himself a “Zero”, “a Fakir” and announced openly that he would not be a candidate to contest elections. That means the idea of floating a party is not his, but of some moneyed, influential individuals in the new movement. This can be decided only after completing one round of tour by the new team in all states to assess popular sentiments for or against a new party with Anna as its moral mentor. Is it enough to make a single tour of all states to get the popular feeling? It may take even two or three rounds and there is one full year ahead to make a systematic, in depth, prolonged assessment. If the results are going to be against, that would be the end of the dream party as an alternative and so much the better.
In such a situation the next option would be to get the powerful regional parties united in the interest of the nation, to get them agree on the best suited as the would be PM. This is going to be the toughest challenge, similar to scaling mount Everest. The task is very risky, riddled with deadly manoeuvrings. Does “Zero” Anna have the stamina; vision and intellectual know-how to guide such risky, hazardous, long drive? It is always the diffident, service minded humble rather than the overconfident proud and ambitious, as in the hare and tortoise race, who should be trusted with high responsibilities. For believers in God, grace flows down only to the lowly placed servant. Here one thinks also of a Rahul Gandhi who evades all lime light and says always “not now”, “not me” when power and position are offered on a platter, either because of his honest self-assessment or because of his inborn compulsion for democratic process which demands election and not selection of leaders.
Have we Democracy?
One complaint against Anna repeated in most of the articles published recently is that he is not democratic enough, he is a benevolent dictator possessed by an infallibility orKhap Panchayat syndrome. Why not a benevolent dictator? What else is better suited for an illiterate voting public since a vibrant democracy presupposes a well educated electorate, existing and functioning? In its absence, what else is ours: Money-cracy, Party-cracy or Dynasty-cracy? I wrote: “Ours: Money-craze, not Democracy(11/8/11), another: ”Autocracy, mobocracy or Democracy? (22/8/11) in a series of over a dozen pieces dealing with various aspects of electoral politics. I wish I am proved wrong in all of them.
What about discrediting Team Anna for corruption? Compare their inadvertent little pilfering with the wholesale Himalayan looting done by big sharks in all parties. When a congress member of the Standing committee described Anna “steeped in corruption head to foot” he had to swallow his words and quit but was surreptitiously taken back. These worthies with “a log in their own eyes” are trying to remove a speck in Anna’s eyes. Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle. Caesar’s wife should be above reproach but the biggest room in life is the room for improvement which no man can fill. Don’t expect the honest ones to be 100% perfect. This of course cannot be said of a Baba Ramdev, who has a very a twisted and murky background, too long to discuss here, He is now making a hew and cry in the space vacated by Annaji.
The question here is that the country stands in desperateneed of an alternative at the Hastings in 2014. A new leadership which is led neither by the Congress nor the BJP is the crying need. Both claimants have proved to the hilt to be incorrigible and beyond repair. It is a great gamble. It is for the enlightened, visionary, courageous, energetic, risk-drilled youth of India to prove themselves fit for the marathon run in 2014 and cross the victory line first, not last as in the London Olympics!
The writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: An open Catholic press is the topic of discussion in Almaya now. I have a lot to write on the topic, of many experiences in life. When I was invited to speak at the 9th world conference of Catholic Press in Luxemburg, I told them them that the Catholic Press must die and gave 10 reasons.It was some 45 years ago. After a month I was shocked to receive some 25 copies in which they gave the just of my talk in French, German and English and what is more, they sent me some 80 Deuich Mark, the first time I got paid for my writings without asking for it or expecting them to do it. At that time I was editor and publisher of New Leader in Madras. So many other experiences. Should I share with Almaya? jk
With Warm Regards,
Dr. James Kottoor,
Dr. James Kottoor,