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Political lingo not up to par
Will ‘Baap’ of all governments usher in required reforms?
We claim we are the world's biggest democracy. We say we inherited the legacy of the British system of administration which is now called the Civil Services such as IAS and IPS. The ways things are moving, it leaves us wondering whether we have moved forward or if we are still stuck at the place where the Britishers left us.
Let me begin with the example of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigning on Thursday following a failed tax-cutting budget that rocked financial markets and led to a revolt within her own Conservative Party.
Truss after a stiff competition became the PM defeating Indian origin Rishi Sanak. Truss was in office for just 44 days, making her the shortest-serving Prime Minister in the British history. She said in a statement outside 10 Downing Street, "We set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.
"I recognise though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to announce that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party."
The party is now due to complete a leadership election within the next week, much faster than this summer's two-month period. Truss' resignation came after a meeting with Brady, who chairs the 1922 Committee – the group of Conservative MPs without ministerial positions. They conduct weekly meetings when Parliament is in session and discuss matters pertaining to the party. They are an influential group who have the power to organise leadership challenges to their own Prime Minister and play an important role in selecting the next party leader. This group publicly asked Truss to step down and expressed their lack of confidence in the Prime Minister. Such a thing cannot be thought of in our democracy.
Here in India, one cannot dream of any party men evaluating the performance of their leader and declaring that the leadership failed and hence there is a need for change in it.
If a crisis arises, our political parties know how to overcome as they have mastered the art of poaching people from other parties to form government or remain glued to power or to decimate the opposition.
Though in a democracy, it is people who should matter, today, only leaders matter. Political parties take people for granted, or perhaps over period people have allowed political leaders to take them for granted.
In 80s, an election to the state assembly used to cost Rs 2 to 3 lakh but today even a by-election is estimated to cost around Rs 300 crore. Voters who were once given a token amount of Rs 500 per vote are now allegedly paid Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 per vote. The party that would lose polls will allege that the rival party had misused official machinery, spent money like water and exhibited its muscle power.
This is the general scenario across the country but there is something special in the two Telugu states. The lingo of politicians has undergone a sea change. Compared to the Two Telugu states, Telangana is still a shade better than Andhra Pradesh. In fact, for the first time, I am facing a major problem in explaining what I mean by saying that the lingo has changed. Not that I cannot describe but for that I will have to use those words which my conscience does not allow me to do so. If I simplify the language, I may not be able to present the intensity of the situation but at the same time I don't want to put myself in that league.
The situation in Andhra Pradesh is that no one is willing to debate and discuss issues and find solutions. Abusive language by all, irrespective of position or gender, has become the order of the day. The recent innovation in this league is objectionable gestures by some while lashing out at the opposition and dragging the names of mothers and family members of rival party leaders. Apart from calling them names, the focus is on decimating opposition parties by hook or crook.
The administrative mechanism which consists of All India Service officers are not as aggressive and progressive as they used to be till a couple of decades ago. In the last three years, we have seen how even the floor of the Assembly is being used by members to exhibit their lung power which is certainly repulsive. In the past whenever any member used objectionable word bordering on abuses, the leaders used to stop them, pull them up and warn them not to do so again. The presiding officers used to remove all such words form records. But now everything is becoming part of record.
Some accuse rivals of getting married thrice, some use street fight language, some show chappals and fingers. Some people who are part of government offer to resign demanding that the government implement its intent like having three capitals, knowing fully well that there are legal hurdles. The administration, too, is acting in a manner which is beyond the common man's understanding. The rule is that the ruling party can hold any meeting not the opposition. Till recently, the situation was similar in Telangana but now there is some change for better.
Unfortunately, in Andhra Pradesh, caste politics continues to play a major role. No political party really wants to change the situation. Everyone believes in the policy of the Britishers – divide and rule. Another concept that is floated by the YSRCP now is that they should win all 175 seats in Assembly. So far no party in any state thought so.
What upsets the general public is the Centre which is supposed to be the 'Baap' of all governments in a federal structure is also not doing anything to bring in reforms and take the initiative to set things on right path.
We have not seen PM chide or at least advise any CM or political party publicly or privately on the kind of words that are being used by the politicians. Silence is no doubt golden, but not always. It is nice to see the PM visiting temples and focusing on their renovation. He is also right in accusing the previous government of leaving centres of faith across country in a state of neglect. He attributed this to the "Slave Mentality" which gripped the minds of some people. But such mentality exists in political parties and administration and this too needs to be cleansed.
It's time to put check on the changing political lingo where people are transgressing all limits of decency. Unless this issue is addressed, it is very difficult for country to become Viswaguru once again. The need of the day is major reforms to create a healthy political atmosphere.
The Centre should ensure that the officers of central services rise above everything and guide the political executive without fear or favour. They should refuse to be subservient to any party in power whether it be at Centre or states. Implementing policy decision does not mean surrendering to the political executive.
They should realise that all that the political executive can do to them is transfer them to less important places. But if the officer is sharp, he or she can do wonders in those places, too, and get global attention.
One should realise that political misadventure could cause irreparable damage to the pace of development of the state. Look at Odisha state which is silently moving forward with focused agenda of development. It felt ashamed when AP had to go to its rescue to tackle cyclone and it has now mastered the art of disaster management and is now trying to woo investors on a large scale to that state from across the country including AP and Telangana. It does not boast day in and day out, but it is a power surplus state. Maintain low profile and aim high is the mantra being followed by this state which was backward once.
On the contrary in Andhra, we are fighting on the issue of whether to have one capital or three capitals and are more concerned about caste-based electoral politics. Before bifurcation, AP was like a hare but now it is allowing tortoise to overtake it.