Strong Ethics Alone Can Stem the Political Rot

Scrupulous conscience that refuses to buckle in any circumstances is paramount to a person’s character while traversing a path connected with public life. Sadly, the current state of affairs, reflect a total paradox and erosion of moral values has become a deep rooted menace to eradicate. Across the spectrum, political groups are fraught with individuals who jump onto the bandwagon of politics either clamoring for power or with covert intent of making it a lucrative career option. These misplaced ideals have overshadowed the true essence of being an elected representative which places upon them a mandate of discharging selfless service aligned to aspirations of their constituencies and thereby steering the party agenda ahead. India’s model of multi-party democracy has thrown up numerous factions over the years, mostly having regional identity and few mainstream groups with a pan India presence. Thus, convergence of diverse ideologies in an era of coalition politics is another challenge that has ruffled many a regime.

Ideally, parties with similar leanings and common minimum program that come together to form a power equation should scrape by. But, discord and disagreement over major policy issues between ruling party and their coalition partners keeps government on tenterhooks with a perpetual fear of losing majority. This is a fall out of striking balance to stay afloat both in their regional backyard by pandering to the vote bank and at the centre, though at the expense of country’s detriment. Recent example of this trend in UPA’s second term is Trinamool Congress, having opposed crucial initiatives like FDI in retail, Pension reforms, Lokpal bill etc on domestic front and curtailed the signing of Teesta water treaty with Bangladesh. The Leftist (CPI) too played truant when it came to passage of nuclear bill and withdrew support during the first term.

Apart from anguish of keeping the coalition intact, there is a bigger albatross around the neck to contend with, the principle opposition. Their task, instead of playing constructive role has acquired new dimension of adopting any skewed approach to usurp power. Acting in cahoots with groups having diametrically opposite ideology to scuttle passage of bills, scouting for sticky issues to put the government on the mat, demanding resignation of key cabinet ministers who dig into nefarious designs of their cadres, withholding party views and indulging in double speak on important issues has become the prescribed code of conduct.

Yearning to be back in power is perfectly legitimate but the means of getting there should not be spurious. Shrill pitched anti-government rhetoric can well be replaced by demonstrable good governance in opposition rules states, progress card of development reforms could be brandished, welfare schemes that benefited masses be highlighted among a plethora of issues, to stake a credible claim to power. But to nation’s dismay, elections have become synonymous with slugfest, appeasement of minorities by spiking up reservation percentages to garner votes, playing up communal card over disputed sites and what have you.

There are host of burning issues that need redressing on priority, like improving literacy rate, reduction in prevalence of malnutrition among children where India stands among the highest in the world, alleviation of poverty etc. Fragile ethics and obsession with power politics has culminated in unprecedented corruption. Big ticket swindling in 2G and Commonwealth games, has mired the decision making process at the bureaucratic level owing to fear of being hauled up for even a miniscule act of omission. This upheaval that India has plunged itself in, has pushed real issues into oblivion. It just doesn’t suffice to be counted among most sought after emerging economies and sustaining growth rate of 7-8% in a period of economic gloom the world over.

Progressive vision that embraces social, economic, law and order issues should encapsulate the agenda of any political outfit which in turn lends to well being and welfare of entire nation rather than a particular section of society. That’s the fundamental purpose of politics from layman’s point of view, though it is a relative thought and might have numerous others connotations in present times. The prerequisite to replicate this definition in practice requires quelling the narrow political considerations, looking beyond fulfilling personal agendas through corrupt practices and cleansing of conscience.

The Indian polity has to do some serious soul searching. Unless it realizes social and moral responsibility and reinvigorates itself with a genuine desire to serve its citizens, the fabric of largest democracy runs the risk of being reduced to tatters in the coming years.

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