2020 – where do the parties stand?

2. National parties – truly national?

Indian polity ever since Independence has been more personality -based than ideology centered. It was once Mahatma Gandhi, then moved to Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira to Jayaprakash Narayan to Rajiv Gandhi to Vajpayee and it keeps ‘moving’ constantly.

Lal Bahadur Shastry, Morarji Desai, P V Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh are exceptions who never attempted to post a larger than life, to be precise, bigger than the party image. To be honest, Shastry, Morarji, PVN Rao and Manmohan did much greater jobs than the likes of VPSingh and  Dewe Gowda. We do not consider the names of Charan Singh, Chandrasekar and IKGujral seriously mainly because they had a very short tenure to make any significant impact on us.

We do not try to undermine the contributions of these leaders to Indian polity. To get to the position of the Prime Minister of India is not so easy; these leaders had been able to reach it and that by itself is a great achievement – no doubt. Let us salute them all for their struggle and spirit.

We, Indians, tend to believe more in the ‘persons’ than in the ‘programmes’. Principles do not mean so much to us as to the appearance, the eloquence and the charisma of the leaders. As a result, we allowed ‘popularity’ to overtake policies.  This tradition keeps continuing in the days of Modi and Sonia as well. Is it good or bad? Both.

We have derived certain benefits and have received a lot of brickbats too – depending upon the concerned individuals. In the post Gandhi – Kamaraj era, while charismatic leaders like MGR in TN and NTR in Andhra managed to remain good for the downtrodden, many of the ‘seasoned campaigners’ let them down very badly.

It was all over there during this period; corruption, nepotism and opportunism were the inevitable trademarks of governance and public administration. The very purpose of ‘politics’ was changed to one of striking rich out of a manipulative business with utter disregard to the expectations of the people.

Caste, religion, Language and regional ‘pride’ became the basic components of electoral victory. Thanks to the corrupt politicians, the money and the wealth amassed by them provided yet another pathetic dimension to the already weakened democracy – ‘money power’.

Votes could be ’bought’, victory could be ‘bargained’ and even the elected representatives were available on ‘auction’. The highest ‘bidder’ would have them all. Here again, TN is said to be leading the country. This is the price of ‘sacrificing’ leaders like Kamaraj and Rajaji.

Let the past be past; where do we stand today? Rather, where do the parties stand today?

We have the BJP and the Congress at the National level.  There are of course many other ‘national’ parties but they have very little ‘presence’ in any part of the country with which they cannot have even a Municipal Ward member on their own.

Parties with ‘socialist’ agenda have disappeared and the so called left parties are left far behind the tiny, smaller outfits operating in the States. It is one good thing of contemporary politics that these men of hypocrisy do not have people’s support anymore. Except Kerala and Tamilnadu (thanks to DMK) the left parties have been buried deep into the annals of history. Sorry if I sound uncivilized.

The lofty ideals of Socialism must be supported and strengthened to guarantee liberty and equality among various sections of the society. It is the best political ideology that alone would be able to fight against oppression and suppression by the forces of imperialism and fundamentalism.

The problem is not with the ideology. It is with the inadequate and faulty vision of the Indian leftists who have never tried to think beyond the financial benefits of the employees and officers in the organized sectors.

Their eyes were set on ‘subscriptions’ and ‘strikes’ rather than working for the unfortunate ones of the lowest strata of the society. These are the general public – insulted, ill-treated and exploited by the very same people in the organized sectors shielded by the leftists. So, the ‘alienation’ is but natural outcome.

To be socialist and public spirited, one need not be a ‘leftist’; need not keep paying subscriptions to the ‘organization’ till his death. Let the self proclaimed ‘intellectuals’ lend support to the crumbled, falling citadel with their masqueraded camaraderie and utterly outdated preaching of imported dogmas.  No sensible person would shed tears for the demise of the left parties here. As said earlier, it is good in a way that the left is gone – once for all.

It leaves the BJP and the Congress to fight between them – to ‘work for the people’!

Do they really?

(to continue

Baskaran Krishnamurthy

Contact: [email protected]



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