July 10, 2012
Recently while delivering the inaugural address of a one day seminar in Mangalore D H Shankaramurthy, Chairman of Karnataka state legislative assembly said democratic governance has enabled rapid development of our country unlike those countries having autocratic rules. Further he said parliament and legislative assemblies enable discussion and debate on developmental activities and that democracy alone is the panacea for all its ills and shortcomings. At the same time he has sounded a world of caution saying that people should not be perturbed by the present political situation (reference to Karnataka) which he said might have saddened and hurt people to all norms of democratic values being thrown to the winds. All this is just for power in the name of democracy!
As Shankaramurthy has rightly gauged people of Karnataka must be tired of witnessing the political drama unfolding in the state in its various manifestations in the last 4 years ever since BJP formed government here. There have been maneuverings, treachery, anxiety, blackmail, suspense, love, sex, drama, thriller, betrayal, backstabbing, revenge and even crime and punishment. Alas! What more can the people of Karnataka expect from our elected representatives who are supposed to serve us! Despite monumental corruption, political chicanery, sectarian caste-based politics, political uncertainty, mudslinging and many more scandals and undemocratic incidents people powerlessly watch a bunch of hooligans ruling us.
This really makes us wonder whether our much eulogized democracy just a sham. Or are our elected representatives making a mockery of all political decency making us wonder where we are heading to in the name of democracy? We have the perfect example of democracy being reduced to a charade in Karnataka state where political nautanki has taken centre stage leaving the administration of the state in complete shambles. Every day we hear only about the ruling party’s internal bickering, and have been witness to the senseless drama unfolding, with the sole purpose of occupying the Chief Minister’s gaddi. Development process has come to a standstill as our elected representatives are busy with Fabian tactics to outmaneuver one another. It may require herculean efforts for a new government to bring the state back to the previous glory from the political morass it finds itself as of now. Even after installing Jagadish Shettar as the new Chief Minister political instability is sure to continue till the next elections.
We take pride in calling ourselves the largest democracy in the world because in as the preamble of our constitution says – the legislative, executive and judicial are only servants of the people and people are supreme. Yet in Karnataka we have seen every possible kind of drama unearth in all these years, the worst the state has witnessed since independence. What right do we have to bask in the glory and pat our own back as true democracy when the people who have elected our representatives are reduced to mere spectators who are forced to watch the drama unfold every second day? And this comes under the BJP rule, which considered Karnataka as the gateway for establishing itself firmly in the southern states of India where it does not have much presence.
If public opinion is anything to go by people are fed up of the present in government in Karnataka and are waiting for the next assembly elections due within a year to teach a bitter lesson to the squabbling and egoistic BJP leaders of the state. It means that for another 2 decades BJP cannot even dream of forming another government in any of the southern states of the country leave alone in Karnataka. Defeating the political party in electoral hustings in not the right solution to these politicians because it tantamount to leaving them scot-free without making them accountable for their utterly irresponsible behavior. These representatives should be made accountable to the people who got them elected for the misrule, misuse and irresponsible behavior.
The situation in many other states and at the centre is no better either making us wonder whether we are living in a democracy or autocratic or dictatorial governments prevalent in many other countries. Just the other day West Bengal Chief Minister Mamtha Bannerjee fired a salvo calling our politicians ‘spineless’. Whatever might be the circumstances that made her to come out with such a salvo, it certainly applies to Congress leaders at the centre. Most Congressmen are sycophants who don’t think of Congress beyond Sonia or Rahul Gandhi. An important decision like choosing candidate for President and Vice President’s post is left in the hands of one person. We paddle ourselves as the largest democracy in the world but fate of the largest democracy hangs on the whims and fancies of one person who cares a fig for inner democracy within the party.
We elect representatives to be the voice of the people, to make a decisions on their behalf and not just to be subservient to one person. If these elected representatives want to be puppets in the hands of one or a few persons why should we go through the elaborate process of elections spending crores of rupees of taxpayer’s money to conduct elections? It looks as though we elect them to enjoy all the benefits at our cost.
We have a Mayavati, an ordinary teacher turned a multi-crorepathi, whom people support, we have Jagan Reddy, the corrupt son of a former Chief Minister who has amassed wealth common people can even dream of and yet he is able to win an election, we have Akhilesh Yadav who thinks it is the prerogative of the MLA’s to get luxury cars costing up to Rs. 20 lakhs from the constituency development fund (he was forced to withdraw it within 24 hours following hue and cry by opposition). Most MLA’s get all sorts of allowances and reimbursement of petrol prices (hence even petrol hike has no impact on them) from tax payer’s money. We know what luxurious life Karnataka’s Reddy brothers led until the law tightened its noose around them. The list of rags to riches stories of our politicians goes on and all this farce is enacted in the name of democracy.
We say people are the supreme authority in a democracy. But in reality it is just the other way round. Even teaching a bitter lesson to these spineless, boneless, weak-willed, corrupt, cowardly, felonious politicians in elections is not the solution because they will make a comeback within a gap of five years or even less than that. Even our people go by caste-based candidates rather than those with any merit to their credit. Whoever said ‘in a democracy people get the government they deserve’ has said it right in the sense that we deserve to get this kind of government which is our own making.