Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Is there a Lack of New Leaders or Lack of Interest in Politics?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Old wine in a new bottle saying doesn’t apply to the politicians of the world who seem to come back into the pictures despite the past election losses, or the ones in power seem to try hang onto their seats by any means they can.  Democratic elections make no difference when a politician wants to win power back or come back into the lime light.

Elections get more expensive with every cycle and promises to the public become more extravagant to come back to power or retain power.  The available funds for spending are always less than what is allocated and the allocated monies get diverted into scams.  The cost of lections and getting reelected is in unstated amounts, but the politicians are willing to gamble the money to get back into power.  The cost to get elected is typically coming from the public’s money in one form or the other, and each time the numbers being siphoned get to be greater and greater.

Every local, state and central politician is somehow or the other involved in making decisions that cost the tax payers enormous amount money, and typically the decisions are to support the reelection and getting wealthy while on the job.  Every politician in India after PVNR, seem to get caught up in the cycle of scams and kickbacks, and none is sparing the public coffers from scams.

The recent elections in several states in India reflect a clear lack of direction and leadership in the state and central levels.  People are essentially voting the old cadre back to power and showing indifference to the deeds of the past.  Also, there is a clear lack of any new vision or diversity in political parties.  We get nothing but the same people on the ballot, same agenda, same intolerance to others, and indifference with the public who go to polls, and nothing new being offered to protect public interest and create opportunities for growth.

Typical of the politicians someone will accept the responsibility for the loss of their party in the elections, and immediately start blaming the others for spending money to buy the elections, and their inability to communicate their agenda to the common man.  The truth is that every party spent money that they have on targeted voting blocks, and made promises that are impossible to deliver.  The loss of elections typically come with the worst performing government, and people despite being fed the pre-election gimmicks and gifts, will still vote for change and hope to bring positive developments to their location, city, state and center.  We the people are eternal in optimism and while we take the benefit of pre-election gifts and promises, will still vote for change that might surprise with performance.

Following the cycle of elections and overall development in the country, the time with Rajiv Gandhi and then PV Narasimha Rao as the leaders of the country, which both saw serious inroads into the globalizing India’s resources, opening the economy for investment and information and telecommunications advances, the rest of the governments seem either oblivious to the global developments or unable to appreciate the democratic country’s standing as the largest such country on earth.  Even MMS, who is the chair of the PM, is unable to achieve objectives he set out and foster as the FM of the country.

There is no quick fix to election process and getting reelected in India or anywhere else, but people typically look for change in government when the government becomes overbearing.  While India’s election process is commendable in its vast enterprise and the changes public vote in, it still needs new blood to get into the electoral main stream to bring in changes of openness to the process.  We definitely need new set of leaders in either the incumbent parties or new parties who will eliminate the political graft (if not minimize it to simple political contributions that can be accounted), and really push for social agenda without money bags attached to it.

Looking at the past few cycles of elections it doesn’t look like we will be able to find new leaders who will push for a graft free agenda.  It looks like recycling the old faces again and again, and each time the government changes there is an emergence of scams of the past.  There are no immediate and logical steps to foster a transparent and open government at any level as the incumbents are entrenched in the political and financial system of the country.  We have to find a bottom up solution for changing the electoral process to eliminate the loop holes, stop the fostering of electoral graft and create a new set of leaders who are in for really serving the people’s agenda.  It might be asking too much at this stage of India’s political system to become a totally free electoral process and drive only the public’s agenda, but it is always good to dream of such a society.

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