Friday, April 20, 2018

'Wake Up Call' to check decay of democracy

Former AP Chief Secretary’s book flags issues weakening democratic institutions

Hyderabad: Retired IAS officer and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Ajeya Kallam said citizenship is not only a right but also a duty. It is time for the people, particularly youth, to lead the charge and put ‘derailed democracy’ back on track, restore autonomy of institutions and check worsening corruption, he said.

In his book titled ‘Wake Up Call’, Mr. Kallam flagged several issues and possible solutions to strengthen collapsed systems for a robust democracy. “The idea is to flag these issues to common people and work out an agenda for transformative politics to reverse the present course of Monarchic democracy and dynasty politics and strengthen the institutions,” he said.

The book release function here on Wednesday provided the platform for speakers to look at the ills afflicting polity, governance, mounting corruption and reverse the course of governance in the States and the Centre back to democratic ways.

Raising the issue of defections, Justice P. Lakshman Reddy wondered how Legislative Assembly Speakers could fail to disqualify MLAs defecting to another party after elections, even as the 10th Schedule of Constitution was clear on disqualification.

Lok Satta founder president Jayaprakash Narayan, who released the book, said voters should stop looking at elections as a match between two parties. A voter should understand the link between the vote, good governance and better quality of life for citizens. Politicians should not solely be blamed, as some of them were as much victims as villains and were trapped in a vicious circle of spending lakhs and crores of rupees to win elections.

M.V.R. Sastry, former ditor, Andhra Bhoomi, said democracy was not just smooth transfer of power once every five years alone. Two political parties, mired in various scams and corruption sharing power alternately was not democracy, he said.

Explaining what prompted him to pen the book, Mr. Kallam said people had been witnessing political executive consciously weakening all the democratic institutions from 1980s onwards. Every time there was a change of guard at the political level, there was more suffocation and a feeling of being further let down.

He said debates titled ‘Mana Kosam Manam’ (We for ourselves) would be organised in every district, starting from Anantapur on April 21, to make people think and do their bit to change the situation for the better.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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