Saturday, July 10, 2010

Robin Hood politics robbing India Of super power stature

Instead of becoming an economic super power in the next one or two decades, India will sink into a bottomless abyss if the media, middle classes and the youth do not put an end to Robin Hood politics, warned Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today.

In his keynote address at a national seminar on electoral reforms, Dr. JP said that modern day kleptocrats, irrespective of the party to which they belong, have mastered the art of plundering State funds and perpetuating poverty among the masses by throwing a few crumbs at them. Instead of getting indignant, the masses feel grateful for the sops they receive. The country’s future will be bleak if such status quo-ism is not ended.

C. Achyutha Memon Study Centre & Library, Thiruvananthapuram, and Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, organized the seminar to discuss the entire gamut of electoral reforms ranging from restructuring of the Election Commission and reforming of the electoral system to curbing the use of money and muscle power in elections.

Dr. JP said that democracy has not proved to be a disaster as some feared. Conduct of regular, peaceful and competitive elections, people enjoying political freedoms, and orderly transfer of power in election after election reflect the strengths of democracy in India. However, unprecedented use of money and muscle power, most of it funded by illegitimate resources, to influence voters has undermined democracy. Political parties have made the sovereign people mere mendicants.

Dr. JP underlined the need for a total transformation in the way political parties functioned. They should become instruments in the hands of people for bettering their lives and cease to be private properties of a few people. The electoral system should be so reformed that every vote counts as in proportional representation. There should be direct elections to local governments. The Election Commission, which has grossly failed in ensuring continuous voter registration and publication of flawless voters’ lists, should turn a new leaf. A concerted effort should be made to mitigate if not eradicate corruption by ensuring sure and swift punishment, including forfeiture of properties of the guilty.

Dr. JP recalled that many countries had gone through such turmoil in their history and overcome them. “The challenge before us is overcoming such problems in the next ten years and not one hundred years.”

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