Karnataka today, India tomorrow !!!

democracy-circus3In this election season, you cannot be blamed for mistaking the title of this post for a war cry of one of the National political parties say the Congress or the BJP. I.e. to capture Karnataka today and India soon after. After all, as Karnataka votes today for its destiny driver for the next 5 years (hopefully), the ball has been set rolling for a string of state elections to follow and then the final Loksabha election mid next year i.e. if the present dispensation lasts its full term. War cry of a party is last of my bother. But, loud cry I keep hearing of the Mango people is.

I cannot but avoid sympathizing with my Karnataka friends as they brave the hot may be not so hot sun and exercise their democratic right today. What is the choice they have?

• Do they again vote and bring back BJP – which made a royal mess of its maiden Southern venture?? 3 Chief Ministers in 5 years, rampant factionalism and infighting, the honour of making “Garden city” a pitiable “Garbage City” today, Corruption charges galore, No governance… have made BJP a party with No difference.

• Do the people of Karnataka repose their faith on Congress – which must take responsibility for the lack of basic infrastructure like roads,… even after ruling the state for more than 50 years since independence? Is there a leader in Congress in the state who can make it happen in the “IT” State?

• Or they throw their weight behind Janata Dal (Secular) helmed by Kumaraswamy Gowda an Ex- Chief Minister himself. If Bangalore is sick and languishing at the bottom of the economic growth table, this secular party has to take fair share of the blame.

• Or finally will the Karnataka praja make my worst nightmare true? Is he actually readying to make Yeddyurappa of Karnataka Janata Party the King or a Kingmaker?

For the citizens, today is a stressful day. The choice they have is to choose the Best among the Worst. As a nation did we opt for democracy to choose the good among the rotten? No wonder there is so much apathy among people today to go and vote. Frankly, if I feel that the candidates in the fray are not worthy of my vote, do I have a choice to express the same?

Though sitting in Mumbai I’m not in a quandary today, I’m worried. Worried because what my Karnataka mates are going through today, many of us have to endure when the time comes to vote for the party/front at the Centre. It looks like “A scam a day may soon keep Dr.Manmohan Singh away”. With an early election looking imminent, the dilemma for the voter gets bigger.

I presume that most fellow Indians have had enough of this Congress led UPA and are craving for a change. For them to satisfy their craving, they need options to vote for in the next General elections. In states where BJP is strong (and that is only 6-7 states I guess) may be they have the option of voting for BJP. But in most of the other states one has to dive into deep-sea to escape from the Congress Devil. In many states where BJP is absent or present in absentia, the people have no choice but to exercise their “Best among the Worst” rule while voting. When they do that, they give fillip by default to parties like the Trinamool Congress, CPI/CPM, YSR Congress, Janata Dal (Secular), Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party,…,…which again start extracting their pound of flesh when the Government formation time comes. Irrespective of the national sentiment for change we may yet get a Government we never wanted. Because under the present system who will rule is decided not by “National mood” but by “Rational Greed” (Money bags, ATM Ministries, Rajya Sabha nominations,…) of the fringe parties who claim to promote the cause of Regional and Sectarian aspirations but in reality have been furthering their own “cases”.

I call this the “Democracy by stealth”. So does this “Democracy by stealth” provide the famous “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”??? I doubt.

Problem definition is always easy. Finding solution is not. Yet, let me attempt. The way forward is certainly to “CHANGE” the present system. That could be in the form of electoral reforms which include

• Clearly defining and identifying National parties which have an influence in more than few states

• Mandating only “National” parties to take part in Lok Sabha elections

• Government formations only based on declared “Pre Poll Alliances” and not by convenient “Post Poll Alignments”

• Election Commission to define a template and minimum criteria for an “Election Manifesto” essentially making the document a “Minimum Agenda for Governance” for the party coming to power.

• Election Manifestos of parties once released during election campaigns must be registered with the Election Commission

• Parties not fulfilling 70% of their manifesto promises should be disqualified from contesting in the next elections. So that there is accountability along with accounts.

Some of the above ideas are indeed outrageous and outside the realm of today’s political imagination. However I strongly feel that small changes may not work. We need paradigm shifts. So that we actually see Democracy at work and not some “Democrazy”!!!

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20 thoughts on “Karnataka today, India tomorrow !!!

  1. r1kartik@gmail.com says:

    Wonderful suggestions actually. But I guess we guys can only dream about them coming into force anytime soon

    K
    Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone

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  2. G.Ramesh says:

    Nice article. As suggested, India needs a paradigm shift in governing system. Indians need a national outlook and a true leader and leadership to take the country ahead as one unit. I was in Dresden, in Germany recently and it was one of the cities in the former communist East Germany. In twenty years after reunification, they have transformed the old bombed city in WWII to its former glory with most of the city centre rebuilt as it was before the war. They have the nationalist outlook that Germany must survive as one unit. We in India , keep fighting among states and do not share resources. In the past when the great emperors were ruling India, a strong central leadership without the corrupt practices made India a great country. This led to the Europeans to seek India for its riches. Today, we still have the western people swarm India for its riches… only in IPL. The average man is still worse off with power cuts, corruption, and day to day life a hassle. What will change India to the be like Germany??

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  3. Wow – highly interesting views -exp the Pre-poll agreements point. If this point is taken seriously – there cud be a silver lining. This musical chairs of 2 largest parties coming to power – needs a break. Fresh agendas, new manifesto promises – will be a breather if they come thru…

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  4. well.. must say your post has a visionary approach !! Karnataka has choose between bad, worse,worst … and India in 2014 will choose between worst , worster and the worstest 😀

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  5. Hemen Parekh says:

    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth ?

    Difficult to prove thru experiment on a global scale
    But suppose , either Congress or BJP were to adopt following ONE – LINE manifesto for the forthcoming National Election in 2014 :
    “ If you vote us to power , we promise jobs for 80 million unemployed graduates during 2015 – 2020 “
    No other promises of Lok-Ayukta , Electoral Reforms , Equal Representation for Women , Independence of CBI , etc etc
    No nothing . Just one line !
    Will that get them absolute majority ( 2 / 3rd ) in the Parliament ?
    Just ask any Jobless Graduate
    And here is a simple experiment to prove this
    Let the winner Congress Party start distributing in Karnataka , free Smart phones / Tablets / Laptops etc , to all unemployed , duly pre-loaded with RESUME BLASTER App ( Google Play )
    All doubts will disappear !
    If this promise has brought regional parties to power in UP / Punjab / TamilNadu / Assam / Rajasthan etc , then it is bound to work at the Center !
    Gujarat , with the least unemployment rate of just 1 % has brought BJP to power for the third consecutive term !

    With regards,

    hemen parekh

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  6. Congress Poll Manifesto

    Dear Rahul Gandhi

    You have invited suggestions from public for possible incorporation in the Congress Poll Manifesto , if found suitable

    Based on my perception of what would benefit the public most ( in order of importance ) , following is how Congress manifesto should read :

     Corruption

    We will introduce / pass , a of Jan Lok-Pal Bill within 2 months of assuming power at the Center

     Jobs

    We will create 15 million jobs per year , starting from 2015 , especially thru rapid investments in infrastructure projects , which generate millions of jobs. To bring this about , we will introduce special Infrastructure Bonds , whose interest will be tax-free for 25 years.
    No questions will be asked as to the source of funds invested by individuals or by Organizations / Institutions

     Economy

    We will liberalize FDI in Insurance / Retail and all other non-defense related sectors of economy

     Productive Use of Un-Productive Money

    We will create a structure, whereby Private sector and Religious Trusts ( such as Tirupati / Lord Padmanabhan / Shirdi SaiBaba / Satya SaiBaba / Siddhi Vinayak / VaishnoDevi etc ) , will come forward to invest , at least Rs 10 lakh crores per year for the next 5 years. This will be done thru,

    • No-Tax ( for 10 years ) , “ Job Creation “ Bonds , exclusively devoted to creation of Jobs for poor people in less-developed states

    • Enabling investments into these bonds , thru a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme ( VDS ) where no questions will be asked as to the source of the funds. This will bring back Rs 35 lakh crores stashed away unproductively / secretly by Indian nationals and Trusts

    • We will create similar “ Job Creation “ Bonds where subscription will be restricted to,

    # NRIs / PIOs

    # Foreign NGOS / Foreign Charitable Trusts (eg Bill Gates Foundation )

    # Foreign Sovereign Funds ( China / Oil-rich countries etc )

    • We will introduce this measure within 6 months of coming to power

     CBI

    We will make CBI as much independent of the Central Government as possible , by making Chief of CBI report to a panel of retired Judges of the Supreme Court
    CBI will have its own Expense Budget ( as part of the Central Budget ) and will be free to hire additional professionals without needing permission from any Central Ministry

     Electoral Reforms

    We will introduce , within 6 months , a Electoral Reforms Bill in Lok Sabha. This will have provisions for

    • NOTA

    • Right to Recall

    • Negative Vote …………..etc

     Representation of People Act

    We will amend this Act within 6 months of assuming power , by incorporating provisions for

    • Acceptance of donations from abroad

    • Acceptance of ALL donations to political parties only thru cheques

    • Issue of paper receipts for all donations

    • Publishing on party web site ,

    # full details of funding / expenditure / donations etc

    # full details of Assets / Liabilities / Income Tax Returns filed etc of Senior party functionaries ( including those holding Ministerial positions ) – updated annually

    # full details of FIRs / Court-Cases ( whether criminal or civil ) filed against any Senior Party Functionaries ( including Ministers ), with punishments awarded , if any

    # number of Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha meetings attended by its elected representatives

     Right to Information Act

    As interpreted by the CIC ( Chief Information Commissioner ) / confirmed by the Supreme Court and advised by the Attorney General , we will ensure that all political parties are covered by RTI

     Naxal / Maoist Menace

    We will eliminate this menace thru full integration of these Tribal areas into the mainstream of the Social / Political and Economic development.
    We will do this by granting special status to these areas , where industries / businesses / NGOs , will be encouraged to set up Skills Training Institutes , by giving accelerated depreciation benefit for the Capital Expenditure incurred and 150 % write-off on the recurring annual revenue expenditure

     Relations with Pakistan

    Whereas we will encourage constructive dialogue with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues , this will be done only after Pakistan dismantles all terror-training camps on its territory , as certified by the Home Minister

    Dear Rahul :

    I am not sure how many citizens will take the trouble to spell out their suggestions like this
    My last suggestion is that you frame a “ Multiple Choice Questionnaire “
    Publish this on as many Media as possible – especially Online Web sites
    Then ask people to record their choices
    A Smart Phone based Mobile App would be great !

    • hemen parekh ( 26 Oct 2013 )

    PS :

    Earlier , I have forwarded somewhat similar suggestions to Shri Murli Manohar Joshi , who is in charge of drawing up Poll Manifesto for BJP

    But then , when it comes to serving the national interest , there ought to be no differences amongst the political parties , as to the goals , even if the means to reach these goals may differ somewhat

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  7. Selling Dreams ?

    Yesterday , on ABP TV , Arvind Kejriwal ( Aam Aadmi Party ) promised to Delhiwallas , unbelievable improvements in ,

    > Healthcare

    > Education

    > Electricity Supply & Prices

    > Safe drinking water , etc

    Apart from a Jan LokPal

    Provided , Delhiwallas vote AAP to an absolute majority ( he expects 48 seats ) , on 4th Dec

    At the moment , it appears that he has succeeded in selling a dream !

    That is one kind of ability that most politicians do possess

    But most of them woefully lack the second kind of ability , viz:

    > Management of expectations raised , thru delivering on promises made

    It does not take a genius , much hard work or a lot of money , if your promise is :

    > 35 Kg of free rice per month to each poor family

    I hope 71 constituency-wise manifestos that AAP promises to publish by this week-end , do not contain such ” Insults ” to people suffering for so long !

    Delivering on promises made by AAP , will require :

    > A time bound ACTION PLAN ( Roadmap ) with quantitative Achievement
    Targets ( Milestones )

    > A ” Resource Mobilization Plan ” which clearly spells out ,

    * How much money will be required for each initiative ( budgetary
    allocations )

    * How ( from where ) this money will be raised ?

    Raising taxes is bad ! Borrowing is worse ! Begging Central Govt is
    worst ! Can you save from ” leakages ” ?

    > Transparent procedures , open to public scrutiny

    > A honest / corruption-free / committed bureaucracy to implement

    > Non – interference by elected MLAs

    > How will public be involved ?

    > Which third party will measure the ” Actual vs Targetted ” performance
    and publish the audited results, and how often ?

    Surely ,drawing up and monitoring such a Project Plan , cannot be a Rocket Science for IIT / IIM whizkid volunteers of AAP , when their classmates at ISRO are launching Mars Orbiter Mission ( MOM ) today !

    If AAP manages to display this second kind of post-election ” Performance Ability ” , then it will truly herald an ” Indian Spring ” and re-write the rules of how elections will get fought in State / National elections

    Good Luck , Arvind !

    * hemen parekh ( 05 Nov 2013 )

    Like

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