Can We Do Away with the Politicians

December 7, 2008

The recent terrorist attack on the prime targets in Mumbai and the death of scores of innocent people has transformed the citizens of Mumbai in particular and the entire nation in general into ‘angry citizens’ braying for the blood of the politicians. At no stage in the history of independent India that the ire and contempt of the people against the political class across the board had been so vocal and shrill as has been witnessed especially in Mumbai during the past few days.

As against the popular belligerent mood of the people, the politicians have practically gone underground, except few faces with fluency in language and sound in argument on the TV. The rest of the tribe has gone into hibernation, waiting for the anger of the people to douse, so that they can reemerge and take the nation for a ride once again during the next general elections.

The question which is foremost in the minds of the people is- Can we do away with the politicians? Some even suggest that there should be a benevolent dictator to solve the problems faced by the nation. Still others feel that technocrats and experts in different fields can run the administration.

The answer for the above question is, No. We cannot do away with the politicians, but certainly we can do away with the politicians with criminal background, corrupt and inefficient, and bring in those persons into politics who are known for their integrity, honesty, sincerity and social service. It is like blood transfusion by which the deceased blood can be replaced by healthy blood and rejuvenate the person, so the political body.

Indian Constitution has adopted the Parliamentary System of Government on the model of the British system, whereas the United States of America has Presidential system. Under the Parliamentary system, the President is the head of the State, so is the Governor at the state level. Both the President and Governors are nominal executive and the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister at the center and the Chief Minister at the state level are the real executive. The entire Council of Ministers is answerable or responsible to the Legislature, Parliament at the center and Vidhan Sabha at the state level.

Under the Presidential system of Government, as in the case of the US, the President is both the head of the State and the real head of the executive. He has option to select appropriate persons with wide experience and knowledge from any field or party to be the Secretaries (Ministers) who are responsible to him alone and not to the Legislature (Congress).

On the other hand, under the Parliamentary system of Government, the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister who are the leaders of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha form the Council of Ministers by choosing elected members from his own party or coalition partners. If any other non-elected person is being appointed as a minister (Man Mohan Singh was appointed as Finance Minister by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in 1990s), the person is required to get himself elected to either house of the Parliament within six months.

In Parliamentary system of Government, the Council of Ministers is ‘collectively responsible’ to the Legislature. If the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha passes a vote of non-confidence against the Council of Ministers, the entire Council of Minister is required to resign.

Thus, under the Parliamentary system those elected members, some of them with dubious background, end up becoming ministers due to various factors such as the consideration of caste and region or political pressure. Such ministers manifest not only their inefficiency, but arrogance and corrupt tendencies. Thus, for a clean and efficient administration honest and upright politicians are needed.

In spite of repeated promises of not fielding persons with criminal or corrupt background, all the political parties invariably give tickets to such elements, as winning the seat by hook or crook is the chief aim of the political parties in order to get majority in the Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha.

Another issue that was thrown to public debate during the past few days was pinning down the responsibility of the bureaucracy (babus) who advice and assist the ministers in running the administration. The Civil Service that was developed as ‘the steel-frame’ of Indian administration during the British period has gradually degenerated into rusted skeleton. No doubt there are few efficient and honest bureaucrats such as Arun Bhatia, Chandrasekhar and others, but the corrupt politicians do not allow them to function honestly. As a result many frustrated bureaucrats have left and are leaving the administrative service.

Under the Parliamentary system, while the minister administering a particular department is answerable to the Legislature for acts of commission or omission, the bureaucrats attached to the department are answerable to the minister alone and not to the Legislature.

Though the bureaucrat is chiefly responsible for the success or failure of the working of the department, he cannot be questioned by the Legislature. Thus, he remains anonymous as far as the Legislature is concerned. The minister cannot point his finger towards the bureaucrats in his department for the lapses in running his department. Thus, the efficiency of a department wholly rests on the quality of the minister and the integrity of the bureaucrat.

In spite of all his histrionics, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Railway Minister could reasonably run his large department and pull it out from the red chiefly because he has a good team of bureaucrats and he listens to their sound advice and gives them considerably free hand in day to day administration.

It is high time that young people with zeal for ‘change’ should enter the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) so that they can infuse honesty and integrity into the administrative system, rather than flocking to the more lucrative IITs and IIMs.

The Citizens’ Action Groups that have sprung up in the wake of the terrorist attack on Mumbai have to sustain their steam of bringing about the ‘change’ in the political system. It may not be possible in bringing about drastic and wide scale transformation. They should think in terms of bringing about change first at the micro-level. First of all ensure  that the cooperative societies where you live have right people to run the affairs of the society.

The citizens of one of the wards in Juhu, Mumbai, had shown the way in the last Municipal Corporation election, how alert and conscientious citizens can bring about ‘change’ by electing their own candidate with proven integrity as a Corporator. Dolphy D’Souza, well-known for his selfless social work in his area was supported by right-minded citizens, including celebrities campaigned for him and succeeded in getting him elected.

This experiment can be replicated all over Mumbai, provided the anger and contempt of the citizens of Mumbai can be sustained till the next Municipal elections. Many a times honest and upright citizens do not enter the electoral politics because of the cost of such exercise and intimidation of professional politicians who are threatened by the presence of good candidates. If the citizens so desire they can drastically cut down the expenses on campaigning and other related issues.

We have witnessed how successfully and effectively the modern technology can be used for this purpose. One SMS by an individual could muster a huge crowd in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel on Wednesday, 3rd December 2008, to mourn the victims of previous week’s terrorist attack. Cell phones, blogs, e-mails, etc. can be meaningfully harnessed to canvas support for ‘Citizens’ candidates.

If the well organized and well-knit Citizens’ Action Groups decide to bring about the ‘change’ in Mumbai Municipal Corporation and succeed in their mission, it could act as a model which can be replicated elsewhere and finally at the state and national level. This change can be brought about by the youth and all of us especially the middle-class, who do not leave any occasion to criticize the political system, rather than attempting to ‘change’ it by casting their vote.

First of all let us get ourselves registered in the voters’ list and on the day of election, either at the Municipality level or state level or national level let us not say ‘What difference my single vote will make?’ and use it as a holiday, but go out and vote saying ‘I am the citizen of this nation. I want a good government and security for my family and myself and I’ll exercise my sovereign right to choose my own candidate’.

Well, as a postscript it can be said that we cannot do away with politicians and the system, but we can ‘make a change’ by fielding and electing persons with proven integrity as our political leaders. Let the anger and contempt for the inefficient, corrupt and ‘parasitical’ politicians continue burning in the hearts and minds of the citizens as ember and blow up as a conflagration during the elections.


Dr Eugene D`Souza - Archives:

Dr Eugene D’Souza, Mumbai
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Joachim Fernandes, US

    Fri, Dec 12 2008

    Comparing the political systems of US-UK and India is comparing apples to oranges. US-UK are developed countries in which political parties represent class interests. India is a developing country in which political parties represent religious, caste and regional interests. In US-UK people think of themselves as American/British first while in India other identities take precedence.

  • donfrank, manglore, uae

    Wed, Dec 10 2008

    India is the biggest democracy in the world with 1.2 Billion population. We need good politicians to run the administration of our country. The recent economic recession throughout the world has made the wealthy nations in a state of panic.

    But India, thanks to foresight of our founding fathers like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, has adopted a Mixed Economy and we can see the result now. Mrs. Indira Gandhi saved our country from military humiliation at the hands of our enemy Pakistan. We have to to be thankful for them.

    India is a big country and we have so many castes, religions, languages etc and yet we are a developing country with unity in diversity. Mistakes do happen but we have to allow our leaders to rectify them. We should support our Govt against terrorism and fundamentalism, which are the two biggest evils of modern India. Letus be united and defeat these two evils. Jai Hind.

  • Eric Coelho, Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 10 2008

    We can do away with the Politicians if we follow the Presidential System of Government. The People of this Country Vote for the President. A President should be Educated (Minimum Graduate), A Public Figure and a Clean Image. The Indian Constitution should be changed completely to make it a Presidential System of Democracy. Then it is the President who appoints his Group of Leaders or Ministers to run this Country. The Leaders or Ministers under the President should also have a clean Image. The Same Rule should be adopted in State Level through the Governorship.

    It is very painful to inform that the REal Democracy came to an end with the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Since then we have seen many Political parties formed only for Personal Gains and it was more like a Family Rule. It is time we give away this Dynasty Rule. Also the recent developments in the Lok Sabha Cash for Votes was a Black spot to our democratical Values. Also the Fighting we have seen in the Parliament and Assemblies explains the True Value of Democracy.

    The Ordinary Citizens of India are facing the terror from the Political Parties through Communal Hatred, depriving the weaker Section the Basic Rights in LIfe. The Inside Terror has to be stopped before we think of External Terror. I am afraid on both issues (Internal and External Terror) it is difficult as all these Terror actions have developed since 1970 and it will take time to correct the same. We have to change our selves before we bring about change in the Country. Can we make a Vow to change ourselves.

  • Anil,

    Tue, Dec 09 2008

    I completely agree with Mr A.D'Cunha Shenoy. I dont really understand US politics. Our system is good but controlled by rogues. Clean them off and we will have a better INDIA

  • A.D'Cunha Shenoy, Mangaluru

    Tue, Dec 09 2008

    India has one of the best political systems in the world, a true democarcy which can not even be compared to other democracies like US and others. I am not sure why people are obsessed with US political system which is strictly a capitalist type of politics. The Indian representation with multi-political parties is a good thing because its a  representation coming from the masses including illeterate people and the unrepresented Indians, if I may say so. The only thing bad here is our politicians, many of them may be corrupt and lack accoutabilty of their actions or inactions. What we need is a total change in exacting accountability from elected officials at all levels including jail terms for the guilty. The current  protests shown by the people in the wake of terror attacks in Mumbai should be continued to make the politicains to lose sleep. Let us Indians demand accountability from politicians.

  • maisie, mangalore

    Tue, Dec 09 2008

    Democracy can be successful if Politicians do not interfeer with religion, underworld & educational institutions. Leave the educational institutions to run through qualified educationists. Money should not be the criteria to give recognitions.Above all, have only two party system. Don't give any room to start any new parties. Those who wish to serve the nation should join either paries & not begin a new party. Those who use religion as the media for the vote bank should be penalised by the E.C.Two party system will give the leaders to work well.


    Mon, Dec 08 2008

    We can certainly do away with politicians provided our industrialists brethern make up their mind. What I am trying to tell here is FICCI should ask the industrialists members to contest the election on independent basis. Only one candidate should be put up. All should support him and see that he gets elected. Once elected, they all should support each other and form a Govt. This is the only way, we can do away with politicians in an democracy

  • Raymond P. D'souza, Dubai / Mumbai

    Sun, Dec 07 2008

    First of all we need to clean Maharashtra from Pakastani and Bangladeshis, who are the vote bank of our politicians?.And do it now.

  • mike fernandes, mumbai/goa/abudhabi

    Mon, Dec 08 2008

    Dr. Eugene D'souza has given a good description about our political system.I would be pleased if he could tell us that unlike our politicians, why dont we hear the US and UK politicians like Mr. Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, AL Gore, John Kerry and others who have either completed their term or have lost elections.Our politicians seem to be holding onto power forever, contesting elections even after they have lost, even if they are confined to bed, or in jail, and we arae afraid to speak up against them as, in this way they have ammassed a lot of wealth, money power and muscle power and as such hold us hostage everyday and forever.

    Thanks to the comandos who rescued us from the terrorists who came by boat, but what about the ones who come by our Vote.I would like to see this system change,we should not let these corrupt politicians be in power for a long time. After two terms or if they loose an election, they should not be allowed to contest elections, they should step down and aside and let other young and honest people come forward to lead the country.

    This should be applicable to all sections of politics and institutions, and Party Presidents as well.Its time we changed the system as our politcians have taken advantage of our democratic system.In my view India was attacked not only when our Parliament was attacked or the bomb blasts or the recent attacks on Mumbai.In fact it is attacked everyday by our politicians,it is attacked everytime a minister withdraws his support to his party and joins the opposition, it was attacked the day Mrs. Lallu Prasad Yadav was elected as CM of Bihar.I would really love to see this change being implemented and I am sure more people would stand up whenever there is corruption as they wuold not have to be afraid of the old power houses.

  • smita shankar, mumbai

    Sun, Dec 07 2008

    We the people of Mumbai do not want corrupt politicians.All they do is criticize each others parties.Many of our politicians are well connected with the underworld.The Mumbai attacks may be done by one of them to remove Mr. Vilasrao from his seat.At the same time they could get rid of good cops like Karkare,Kamte and Salaskar.

    This looks like a well planned scheme.In the bargain so many innocent people have lost their lives.Whoever is behind these attacks will suffer tremendously and so will his family.Everytime something happens they blame the Pak-based jihadis.What about the destruction the politicians are causing in India.They can do so much good for the benefit of the people but instead they are trying to divide the Indians on the basis of religion.Why did Modi and Advani touch the Babri Masjid issue? See the problems they have created.My heartfelt sympathies to the families of the people who lost their lives in this attack.

  • Felix F., India/ME

    Sun, Dec 07 2008

    Whether we change our multi party political system into twin party systems like US and UK , it will hardly make any difference. When it comes to politic’s and economy, there is hardly any difference between US-UK vs India. They have the same political rivalry- same security failures-same economic downfalls, and finally same economic disparity between the rich and the poor. In brief the idealistic belief of a government – by the people for the people of f the people is a total failure.

    After the Mumbai terror attacks it is a general statement by the public, “ it is the police and commandos who saved us, not the politicians.” If India needs a change, then Indias apex court should act as the back bone of the country. They should appoint persons having qualifications to handle the jobs they will be asked to handle. E.g. the president should have certain qualifications- the PM certain qualifications and so on. Elections (though look democratic are very undemocratic the way they are conducted) to leaders to run the country should be totally done away with. How can anyone expect the masses who are economically poor, un educated can make decisions to competent people to rule the country.? We have a good example in front of us. US which was considered one of the affluent nations, is today in total shambles, and who is responsible for this.? Nobody but the elected representatives. We have to do away with politicians and find alternatives should we wish have a secure future for the Indians

  • clifford Fernandes, UK

    Sun, Dec 07 2008

    There is nothing wrong with democracy provided we get rid of old and corrupt politicians and also corruption in the society.

  • John Pereira, akuldheksr, Mangalore/Ghatkopar,Mumbai

    Sun, Dec 07 2008

    Dr. Eugene D'Souza has given apt description of our current political class. Although ours is a Parliamentary Democracy with Central Government for the Whole Nation and Federal Governments for each State based on the British Parliametary Model, with bi-cameral legislatures both at Center and in the States, our Democracy cannot be called a true one because our Political Party system is not sound unlike in Great Britain or the USA.

    Both in UK and USA, they have two major parties who always come to power in turn depending on the Government's performance at the time of election. However, in India the politicians are fighting for supremacy by playing with fire to nurture their votebanks by inciting people on parochial and communal lines. This has made our country weak, although India has the potential of becoming a Strong country economically or otherwise.

    With Episodes like Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, Gujarat carnage in 2002 which resulted in both the major communities trying to outdo the other by terror, the jihadis across the border who have been supporting the Kahshmiri separatists cause over the years which resulted in 3 Indo-Pak wars, have now entered the mainstream of the country targetting cities like Mumbai with the sole reason of taking revenge for Babri Masjid episode and Gujarat episode. In other words, our society appears to be polarised with the vote-bank politics of the opposing parties resulting in turmoil and the corrupt politicians and politicians with criminal background taking advantage apart from Pak-based jihadis, thus hampering the rule of law and resulting in insecurity of the people.

    Now, it appears people are becoming vocal in showing their ire and resentment against these class of politicians and It appears it is only a matter of time when people of integrity will take up the reins of power in INDIA so that all the ills of the country are addressed in due course. In fact, we should aim at ushering in American type of Government which is not directly answerable to the Legislature but to the President who is directly elected by the people just like the President-elect Mr. Barack Steve Obama who will take office from 20th anuary 2009.

Leave a Comment

Title: Can We Do Away with the Politicians

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.