Exposes need convictions & radical systemic reforms to have impact

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Exposes need convictions & radical systemic reforms to have impact

    Will the Robert Vadra expose help end corruption ? Or will it be just another rib-tickler that titillates the middle class for a few weeks and is then forgotten? Will politics remain India's biggest business by far?

    I am not optimistic. Politicians of every party love slinging mud at rivals: as good businessmen , they hope this will improve their market share. But will they cooperate in closing down the business altogether and moving to a less lucrative one? I doubt it.

    Remember Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement last year. He captured the imagination of citizens, and massive public pressure obliged political parties to take up the Lokpal Bill, aimed at creating a new institution that would speedily prosecute crooked politicians. All parties assured Hazare that the Bill would be passed in the winter session of Parliament. But then they used theatrical devices to stall it. They promised action as soon as the next Parliament session began.



    Also read: Robert Vadra ties up with DLF, makes low-key entry into Real estate business



    But by that time the fickle middle class had lost interest, and Hazare could no longer attract huge crowds. The Bill was referred to a parliamentary committee, where it will moulder for a long time, and probably lapse. An unwritten understanding between parties ensures that no anti-corruption legislation has real teeth. This has been the fate of all Lokayukta legislation in sundry states: no Lokayukta has made any significant difference to state-level corruption.

    Arvind Kejriwal deserves kudos for exposing how Robert Vadra, one-time scrap dealer and husband of Priyanka Gandhi , has become rich. Convenient loans from public sector banks, clearances from the Haryana government, and advances from DLF helped him convert a few lakhs of equity capital in unknown companies into hundreds of crores.

    The Vadra affair has produced a million chortles and left Congress spokesmen looking comic as they try to defend the indefensible. Everybody knows this is just the tip of the iceberg: the deals in question are in white money, while political business is mostly black.

    If Kejriwal now exposes shady deals of sundry opposition figures, what will happen? Will all politics change? No, politicians of all parties will gang up against him, and try to reduce his credibility. Instead of being feted as a scam-buster , he will find himself investigated for minor or imaginary transgressions , and hauled up on technicalities. This happened last year to members of Team Hazare, and will happen again.

    Exposes need convictions & radical systemic reforms to have impact - The Economic Times
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Aam admi No. 1

    Nothing has changed. Like last winter — when the Anna Hazare movement was racing to its apogee — Arvind Kejriwal's spartan office in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad continues to play host to a motley crew of India's unheard masses.

    Patiently waiting their turn to talk to one of Kejriwal's lieutenants, there are sugarcane farmers from western UP. Their government, they say, does not pay them on time, nor does it decide on sugarcane prices in advance. So they never know how much money they will finally make.

    There are thelawalas from east Delhi, who say the law recognises they run a legitimate business — more than one challan is proof that you've been running a vending business for some time and therefore, that you have a right to be there — but the MCD does not; and there are farmers from the Gurgaon area who say that in the seven years since the Haryana government acquired their land, all they've done with it is leave it alone. And if the government does not wish to make use of their land, then perhaps they should give it back.

    His filtration process is simple, says Dilip, one of the lieutenants. "We tell a petitioner that if a problem affects only him, then we cannot help. But if it affects a lot of people, then we can." Strictly speaking, even then, the landed farmers, the landless farmers and the thelawalas are not offered "help".

    Instead, they are told to go back to where they came from. Organise. Demonstrate against the government. And when they do, "Arvindji will come to help" . Kejriwal's motto then, one could say, is: "I will help those who help themselves."

    The same thing is repeated in the vision statement of the political party that Kejriwal will launch on November 26. That "swaraj promised nothing short of self-rule" . Broken down into its simplest form, what Kejriwal is suggesting is that the people should decide if they want, for example , a particular flyover to be built or not; or to choose between whether five handpumps or one tubewell will serve them better.

    This is not a radical suggestion. In civilised societies which believe the development a government might wish to carry out is for the good of the people, authorities are expected to talk to and convince a majority of the local population of their plans before work begins.

    Their political party, says Manish Sisodia — he is the other half of Kejriwal's movement; Kejriwal for the time being is focusing on the Delhi Assembly elections of November 2013, while Sisodia is focusing on the rest of India — will be built similarly, "from the bottom up".

    Before the Delhi elections, groups of the party's volunteers will scour each of the capital's 272 wards. In each ward, they will ask the public to nominate 100 candidates they think are worthy of fighting the election. The volunteers will then whittle that number down to 20. Then the public will be asked to screen the 20 candidates, and bring the number down to seven. And finally, from those seven, the volunteers will choose the one man or woman who they believe should fight the elections. "Arvind will not choose," says Sisodia . "The people will."

    Funding, too, will come from within the locality . "The people will be told that the right candidate has been found from among you, he will do right by you. That should encourage them to help fund him." By doing this, the party itself spends nothing on fighting an election. And if the party does not need to raise money to fight an election, then neither does it need to be corrupt.

    Can it be done in India? Professor Ujjwal Kumar Singh, who heads Delhi University's department of political science, says it can. "But the party will need a dedicated cadre. And their experiment will take time."

    Kejriwal has finished meeting with Nathu Sarpanch and Ramesh in his office. Both men are farmers, the former lost 20 acres of land to the Haryana government and the second is in the process of losing his five acres. Now, they have their marching orders. Go home and gather all the other farmers who have been similarly affected, and demonstrate against the government. "I will come and support you," Arvind tells them.

    But there will be problems. Kejriwal's frenzied pace, for one. One minute he is meeting with his cadre, the next a group of disabled persons has arrived asking for a meeting. And by the evening a plan has been hatched to gherao the Prime Minister's home. This hurry will force Arvind into missteps.

    And could the "democratic" nature of the selection of candidates lead to such a varied assortment of them that the party begins to pull in many instead of one forward direction? "We know we have to be ready to work with people whom we may not like," says Sisodia.

    And, of course, there is the government. So far, Congress ministers say they are "dismissive" of Arvind but despite the government's assertions , it is also true that Kejriwal has become a one-stop shop for a large part of the country's downtrodden and the unheard. And by speaking for them, in some respects, he is doing the job the opposition should have been.

    Outside, dusk is setting. But in the mind's eye, courtesy the directions Kejriwal has given out during the course of the day, one imagines little fires being lit across the country. The fires are metaphors for the angry and the dissatisfied who, fed up with their government, will begin to stand up to the men who rule them. Arvind has shown them how to do it.

    And the fires, at least for now, seem difficult to put out.

    Aam admi No. 1 - The Times of India
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    While there are threads running on Khejriwal's IAC vs Politicians and Vadra, I thought this thread should be confined to analyse merely the veracity and outcome of the IAC agitation and whether they will be able to have any effect as a political party.

    1. Does the Movement and the not yet named political party have the backing of the people?

    2. Is their message being understood and appreciated by the population?

    3. Can they successfully take on the corporate world funds that engine the political party as also the slush funds that these political parties can muster to win elections?

    4. Money power and Muscle Power are the way to win the election is a formula known to all. Where will the IAC get this money and muscle power from, if they want to be a clean and honest political party?

    5. How will the IAC influence elections?

    6. Is the manner in which the IAC wants to select candidates practical?

    7. Can the IAC win the elections to form the Govt?

    8. Will the IAC be able to withstand the motivated probes about their probity that the Govt and the political parties will initiate with the Govt directed investigative agencies? After all, no one is purer than the snow of Mount Etna.

    9. Any other issues that will affect Indian political future.
     

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