Rahul's rhapsody for a resurging Republic


Rahul Gandhi's idea of empowering the legislators is the only remedy that will cure the ailments that have affected and infected India. It is both a...

Rahul Gandhi's idea of empowering the legislators is the only remedy that will cure the ailments that have affected and infected India. It is both a curative and also a progressive measure. Our democracy is ailing with the cancer of corruption, gangrene of criminalisation and asthmatic attacks of loose talk, albeit in the name of freedom of speech. The great nation envisaged, built , protected and modernized by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Babu Jagjivanram, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimharao and others is limping in several areas, especially political ethics. Rahul's call is the silver lining and the right thinking people should transcend the barriers of political needs and work on his idea. Rahul's ideas of decentralisation and empowerment of legislators will indeed make our democracy really vibrant and that will make our Republic resurgent. The Republic has to be made to look so by not taking it for granted that the family members of a legislator have a birth right to come to power without training themselves the way Rahul Gandhi has been patiently observing the nation and politicalising himself. Rahul Gandhi is not a reluctant politician. He is actually a keen observer of the country and its neighbours. He is evaluating the polity and society very assiduously so that he can guide the nation to greater heights. He seems to prefer to operate on his own strength at the sociopolitical front, not as someone's son or grandson. Rahul's desire to strengthen the party is a step in the right direction, because ultimately it is the party that wins elections and comes to power. The four focal points to effect a vibrant democracy are: i) Decentralization of selection of candidates for election; ii) freedom to think about a problem and to express the views arrived at; iii) restricting the use of 'whip' only to the occasions of no-confidence motion; and iv) decriminalisation of polities. The first point is to be implemented by all the political parties and monitored by the election commission. Each constituency can be asked to take up the responsibility of choosing three candidates who are voters of the constituency for the consideration of the state level committee and then finally of the central committee. The 'B' form should be accompanied by documents from all the three committees. This is possible only if the election commission makes it mandatory. The candidates who are contesting independently also should have the support of at least 25 voters of the constituency who will append their signatures on the nomination paper. The spirit of the whole process is to establish that the candidate represents the constituency in letter and spirit. Candidates should not give the impression that they owe nothing to the constituency but everything to the high command or the politburo. This will put an end to the practice of imposing candidates from above or from importing candidates from other places/ states just because they are related to a particular leader of the area or they are very rich. The candidates for Legislative Councils and the Rajya Sabha also should belong to the area they are expected to get elected from. Rahul Gandhi's strength to lead the nation stems from the fact he doesn't represent only a particular caste, a particular religion, a particular dialect/ language or a particular region. He has an image of 'national importance'. A legislator gets elected on two counts: i) his personal value; ii) the image of the party he is contesting on. We have seen many candidates winning as independents when they are denied a ticket by the party he belongs to. If we recognise that the individual is as important as the party we should restrict the use of whip only to the 'no-confidence motion voting.' Voting across parties on other occasions should be construed as 'dissent', not defection. In UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand such dissent is not penalised. Such a dissent empowers the legislator which is what Rahul is talking about. The core problem which is difficult to handle is decriminalisation of politics. The Congress is a party which has a great many untainted young leaders who can he given a chance. It won't be a bad idea to field at least 30% young who are looking forward to his leadership, characterised by enthusiasm and maturity. The five areas he can concentrate on are: i) social justice, gender justice and cultural balance; ii) economic growth coupled with minimal disparity between the highest paid and the lowest paid; iii) proper utilisation of natural resources � land, water, forests, mines, etc. iv) education, health and housing facilities; v) media and entertainment facilities with 'genuine' secularism as the guiding spirit, not 'selective' secularism. To get the best of advice from others he needs to set up two think tanks, one with five people who are aged below 45 and the other with five people who are aged above 65. The first group will share his enthusiasm to strengthen the nation and the second group will add to his maturity � to think comprehensively and move forward in quick steps, but not hasty steps. Let's hope his rhapsody will turn into a symphony and the nation surges ahead. V Prakasam
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