Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Elections 2009 – II

The good was, of course, the freshness of youth. Young MPs have been in focus and to many this is sure sign that politics of this country will change for the better. But this optimism is paradoxical. The good and bad are not that distinct perhaps. Vir Sanghvi has made a point. Most of the young MPs are actually second- or third-generation politicians, heirs of a family business. Commenting on this he says, "A disturbing proportion of them were born into political families." Disturbing indeed, as he goes on to name the political heirs running the nation. And mind you, not all are young : Farooq Abdullah, Prithviraj Chavan, Salman Khurshid, Dayanidhi Maran, Selja, G.K. Vasan, M.K. Azhagiri, Parneet Kaur, Ajay Maken, Bharatsinh Solanki, D. Purandeshwari , Tushar Choudhary, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Jitin Prasada, R.P.N. Singh, Prateek Patil, Agatha Sangma, D. Napoleon. And then Sanghvi goes on to name other dynasties. Naveen Patnaik, Chandrababu Naidu, H.D. Deve Gowda and his son. I think he gave a special thought to this sentence when he wrote about the Badals: "In Punjab, the Akali Dal is a family business run by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his millionaire son, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal." I found that truly amusing. He points out dynasties in BJP: Vasundhara Raje, whose son Dushyant Singh is an MP, Manvendra Singhand so on. Towards the end of his Counterpoint in today's Hindustan Times he makes a chilling observation:
But family-dominated politics is a closed shop. Entry is open only to those with the right credentials of birth. Outsiders are banned from entering. And slowly but surely, true democracy is replaced by a kind of feudalism in which the peasants are given the right to choose between various aristocrats. The peasants can never enter the ruling class because the wrong blood flows in their veins.

Good and bad are in front of us. Intertwined. Can we begin a process of untangling the two? Sanghvi pins his hope on the "dynast" to free politics from the clutches of "dynastyism". But shouldn't the reviver search for talent beyond the obvious quarters. Maybe he is doing his best. But maybe the aam aadmi shoudl do his bit. Perhaps there is a way the youth of this country can serve in politics despite the lack of the dynastic patronage. That will be good indeed.


Charles said...

Ashish, this 'dynestism' within Indian politics can be worrysome, given that a person can get elected here just because of the popularity his forefathers. Sadly, sons of many Pappu Yadavs may also get elected for the same reason. I pin my hopes to the public of India. I am sure they will give second chance to only people who are upright and works for building India, be they from particular dynesty or from 'aam janta'.

Sunil Aggarwal said...

Hello Ashish
I have been thinking of the areas where those in ruling business and those who are about to be out of this business can engage themselves. The areas finally turned out to be urban governance, fiscal autonomy for local institutions and rethinking the centralist discourse. I think if the so-called second or the third generation focusses on that, there is a bit of hope. Otherwise we are as doomed as we have been for the last six decades.

soyoung said...

'Dynastism'-Indira, Rajiv, Sonia and Rahul(maybe later)-is what intrigues me in respect to democracy in India.
Anyway, no matter who the elected are, what matters will be capability, vision, leadership, courage and determination of the elected person. It can be a son or a daughter of his/her forefather. It can be new face from self-educated in a small distric. It can be a christian who majored in english literature :-)
Every position where one's discretion is concentrated on and legitimate, monitoring MUST be working together there. The process of decision-making must be open and clear. Politician must be involved in evaluating the rationle what the elected insists.
But what I concern now is the reason a person is elected by: popularity. If a candidate finds easy to be elected thanks to his/her forefather, the one's independence is highly unlikely, meaning no advance, corruption and no transparency and no democratic stepforward.
Human being is not what we can rely on. You please monitor the elected and insure the person to be independent from family affect. Watchdog should be particularly there on which power is concentrated.
(If a candidate is not willing to enjoy having watchdogs, he/she is not eligible for a politician.)
But the elected are young generations, we can expect things will change, right? :-)

mayuri said...

Let me keep it simple. ( Its anyways safe for they say better keep others in doubt that you are dumb, rather open your mouth and prove it :)

Transformations and revolutions do-not happen overnight least bit for a nation of billions. For me, as long as change has come for the good even if its little, I choose to focus on that. As more n more youngsters become conscious of their responsibility (not just their rights) and assume active role in accelerating that change including that of vote, good shall continue to grow and democracy will be strengthened. My hope and prayer for this nation is that we will have leaders we can look upto; who have integrity, character, skill, efficiency and the interest of the people ahead of their own.

Thanks for sharing.

musings said...

very good article. most of them, will be corrupt in modern and less obvious ways....