The vast reality beyond the two mascots of 2014 polls

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Nov 26, 2013.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    Delhi-centric views would have you believe that the coming Lok Sabha election will be a fight between Narendrabhai and Rahulbaba with people neatly divided between the Indira Congress and BJP. These two parties distinguish themselves from others by the influence Delhi-based operators have on their policy and workings. Pandits from Delhi-based ‘think-tanks’ regularly fire salvos at any talk of alternatives — the Indian Union can only be ruled by these two parties.

    The combined chorus of Delhi-based policywallahs, mediawallahs, academics, defence contractors, security apparatchiks and other glittering-shady characters has the same tune.
    Lobbyists and pimps of all hues have invested hard in the Delhi circuit. Everyone has their own reasons to sing that song. The combined howl has a terrific effect. Which is why they do sing when elections are near.

    For the longest time, a single ‘national’ party ruled the Indian Union uninterruptedly. Since 1989, a ‘national’ party has formed the government with a pound-of-flesh arrangement with some others. The party makes policy while the coalition ‘partners’ keep mum and take their cut. This is the essence of the UPA and the NDA. The Indian Union is supposedly a federal union — which is an arrangement in which the constituent units (the states) and Delhi govern together. The National Front and United Front governments were notable exceptions where parties with diverse regional origins came together to form policy.

    Ever since Partition, Delhi has systematically encroached on states’ rights, by using super-majorities of the Congress years and now increasingly by the unholy alliance on crucial matters between the Congress and the BJP. Centralization of power has made the Indian Union less democratic. It has also made the removal of entrenched elites harder. No wonder, most members of Parliament own property in Delhi and their progeny increasingly live there. It is only due to the decline of the national parties that today it is not easy to use the black law called Article 356 to remove a democratically elected state government.

    Balancing the over-centralization that has occurred over the last few decades needs an agenda for true federalism that can be supplied most muscularly by parties that consider their own state as the ‘centre’. Only such formations can demand exclusive provincial rights over their own resources and revenue. In the absence of economic autonomy of the states, ad-hocism and pound-of-flesh favouritism will keep some states happy and some states neglected. Delhi will corner disproportionate resources and subsidies anyway.

    To disparage the ‘regional’ parties has another goal. This is to paint certain identities as hindrances to the speedy march of the Indian Union. ‘Regional’ has become a bad word. But the reality is that most of us (except some post-liberalization yuppie urbanites) are not ashamed to be Tamils, Marathis, Bengalis, Oriyas and no other identity, real or imagined, can change that.

    What is the scope of these ‘regional’ parties in the global perspective? The Trinamool Congress got more votes in 2009 Lok Sabha than the victorious Tories got in the UK parliamentary elections of 2010. The DMK got more votes than the ruling Conservative party of Canada got in their 2011 federal election. Consider this: Post-Partition, no national party has won an absolute majority of votes, ever. Also consider this. Between themselves, the two national parties have won less than 50 per cent votes in three of the last five Lok Sabha elections. By concentrating on these two nationals, we stand to lose sight of the diverse and substantial political currents that represent the subcontinental reality. To make the Indian Union a more democratic union, Delhi needs to be kept on leash by the states.

    The vast reality beyond the two mascots of 2014 polls - Analysis - DNA
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    The regional parties have too many divergent views to pull together.

    The first being who will be the PM!

    And that is an insurmountable hurdle since the aspirants are aware that they are getting old and this is their last chance. Who will give away his last chance to wear the Sartaj?

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