All In The Same Boat

Deep in the sea, high in the Sky. That is how one may describe the corruption scenario of India today. For politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, petty officials, government employees, policemen and power-brokers corruption is a way of life and Kejriwal’s ‘Corruption Against India’ team seems to be losing the battle as they look more interested in personal issues, not the system that generates corruption in the first place. Corruption is the Achilles’ heel of the Indian polity and it will remain so for decades to come. Corruption processes are evolving all the time which again makes anti-corruption rallying points more difficult. Kejriwal or no Kejriwal, people are losing faith in the system. And it can’t be otherwise in a situation where most political parties, mainstream, or not-so mainstream, are increasingly becoming irrelevant to confront the reality. Some parties are literally fair weather birds as they hardly take any trouble to articulate people’s grievances and anger against the system that has long outlived its utility. It is imperative that parties promise things that they cannot deliver and that they do not implement what they have agreed.

Right now Congress Party manages a minority government and yet it remains adamant in wooing foreign investors at the cost of people’s interest and national self-respect. The reason is simple : the Opposition has no alternative model to offer. In truth nobody is willing to go to polls at this juncture, albeit snap-poll is the buzz word in the media.

Then election-based parties don’t necessarily need cadres and whole-timers to carry on business. They depend on swing and muscle, it is as natural as anything else in India’s parliamentary culture. There is no visible swing in any direction. Nor are the Kejriwals capable of creating one. Their marathon ends at Delhi’s Jantar-Mantar. Barring Communist Parties the cadre-propelled political manoeuvring is yet to take a regimented structure for small outfits though the so-called national or mainstream parties maintain a kind of floating cadre regime, mainly by doling out government privileges. These parties are generally leader-based and revolves around personality. But all of them swear by people as they would proudly declare ‘people are the real bosses’. True, corporate people are their real bosses since they are in office to execute corporate agenda in the name of nation and people. For most parties what is needed is money to mobilise masses. Even leftists, basically dependent on cadres and sympathisers for organising protest rallies, are now-a-days resorting to money gambling, to make their every mass meeting ‘historic’, in terms of numbers.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is presiding over a notoriously corrupt government without showing any inclination to change the course, knowing fully well the civic society that spearheads the anti-corruption campaign has access to a select audience only. His steam-roller can work overtime to sell out the country in the name of reforms and allow the market to do the mayhem without being challenged by any political outfit. The impact of recent hike in prices of petroleum products is disastrous and yet no party is talking about sustained agitation while the civic society thinks it is not their task to take to streets against unbearable price-rise. Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, accused Kejriwal and his civic society crusaders of shifting public attention by highlighting ‘personal issues’ instead of paying attention to price-rise, unemployment, FDI in retail and farmers’ suicide. But that doesn’t answer the question why they themselves remain passive and instead of organising masses against ‘reforms’ are actually indulging in diversionary tactics by launching meaningless marches–yatras–in Bihar where their Chief Minister is being ridiculed and attacked in almost every rally he tries to address. They have been continuing this circus called Adhikar Yatra (March for Rights) for quite some time without being able to convince the people that Bihar needs special status for survival.

Those who oppose senseless ‘reforms’ have begun to believe that they have nothing to do because market has its own course to follow despite their periodic noises against this issue or that. Right to dissent is being attacked in every part of the country and yet they think they have nothing to do other than talking election. Their sole aim is how to cling to power or somehow to keep their relevance alive in parliamentary politics.

Indications are that this time budget under the blue-eyed boy of Fund-Bank lobby would be harsh for the middle and low-income people as this gentleman during his earlier tenures in the management of finance was a terror to the common man. But the parties are waiting for elections as if they would be able to turn the table talking sense or non-sense during electroneering. Election is first of all a festival for Party functionaries, as it provides the only platform for them to enjoy democratic rights and to participate in public affairs. And people are as helpless as they were a decade ago. It remains unknown who will win the larger war over Congress Party’s anti-people measures but there is none at the moment to steer the country away from the ruthless model of making more destitutes and pavement dwellers.

Vol. 45, No. 18, Nov 11-17, 2012

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