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Decline of ethical behaviour in TS politics
Ethics in politics is necessary for ensuring right behaviour. For inculcating the sense of ethics among the politicians and for attitudinal change, they may be exposed to a formal training on ethics in politics. But who should take a lead? Can it be Election Commission of India and the Chief Election Commissioner or a directive from Apex Court? But who will teach ethics to these fly-by-night operators in politics to behave properly? If only their party seniors can induce some manners, culture and decency to this type of foul-mouthed leaders, on the lines of their illustrious leaders of the past, then there may be some remedy
Modern democracy cannot function without political parties. But, how many of these adhere to ethics and morals in politics is the question.
When regional parties started evolving and posing challenge to national parties, monopoly of later started waning. As a result, the initial decency and decorum maintained by national parties leaders vanished, resulting in public outbursts and hurling inconsequential abuses. Mass-based regional parties like Telangana Rashtra Samithi (Now Bharat Rashtra Samithi) uniting hundreds of thousands of followers were established with a genuine goal of achieving a separate state and attempts to base itself on an appeal to the masses. Consequent to formation of state, it came to power and in the near future is well-poised to play a crucial role in national politics.
Against this backdrop, any well-balanced person will have to agree that for a democracy like the Indian, the crucial players, namely political leaders should rise above the party affiliations and adhere to some decency, dignity and decorum, especially when they speak in public and when they refer to their dignified opponents. Unfortunately, the trend in the recent past in Telangana is that some vocal opposition leaders, that too representing a national party, holding responsible positions, while making statements in public, day in and day out, are losing their balance. They are spitting venom against the Chief Minister and his family members, in a language that is crossing all permissible limits of decency. The language is very filthy, unparliamentary, highly unbecoming and deplorable in unequivocal terms.
Unfortunately, one such political leader in Telangana, occupying a responsible position in the party as well as in the law-making body, though his known political history is not that too long, has the idiosyncratic habit of using choicest epithets against BRS bigwigs referring to them in singular terms, be it against CM KCR or Minister KTR or MLC Kavita or for that matter anyone belonging to BRS. He seldom spares any TRS/BRS public representative. He seems to believe that use of filthy and unparliamentarily language would attract people. How far his language and abuses are putting his own party leaders to embarrassment is a million-dolor question because, interestingly even the national leadership of that person is conspicuously silent on his utterings.
In our country there are several instances where in, some stormy petrel political leaders when used some unpalatable offensive language against respected rival politicians, were reprimanded by their own senior leadership and corrected them. For instance, soon after the Janata government was formed at the center in 1977, the then Union Industries Minister George Fernandez, a zealous critic of Indira Gandhi, addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad described her as a 'perennial liar' (Pathological lying, the chronic behavior of compulsive or habitual lying). When the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai came to know of it, he gently warned him and told George to control from using such phrases against a senior politician and a former PM and instead, reframe as Mrs Indira Gandhi 'seldom speaks truth' (People who used to tell lies in such a small matter and rarely speak the truth), meaning almost the same. Gone are those days and leaders!
However, there are some still. During Corona pandemic times, when many opposition leaders made fun of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he urged the people to light a candle and beat the utensils CM KCR at a media conference openly condemned it and said that PM should not be criticised in that manner and he even asked the DGP to book cases against those indulging in the mockery of PM. Like Morarji, KCR is also an exception. Both have statesman like qualities.
In another instance, when PV Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister, the then Leader of the Opposition Atal Behari Vajpayee used to criticise the government incessantly, but with a lot of respect, decency and decorum. Notwithstanding all that, PV who as the PM deputed Vajpayee to speak on the Kashmir issue at the UN to everyone's surprise. Similarly, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared a special bonding despite representing the opposite stream of politics. When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he included Atal Bihari Vajpayee in an official delegation to the UN so that the BJP leader could get treatment for his kidney ailment in the US. This was made possible simply because the opposition politicians of yester years were highly decent in their conduct to get respect from party leaders in power. Why this is missing now cannot be understood.
However, criticism was not uncommon even then. As a Parliament Member from the opposition, Vajpayee used to criticise Nehru's government inside and outside the Parliament. In one of his speeches inside the Parliament, Vajpayee said that he sees both Churchill and Chamberlain in Nehru which evoked peals of laughter from none other than Nehru himself. During the Janata government, when Nehru's portrait was removed from the Ministry of External Affairs office, Vajpayee took strong objection to it and got it back to the office. Such was the mutual respect the ruling and opposition had then. It also speaks a lot about their personality. That was how mutual respect among politicians prevailed then. Why is this missing now? No answer!
But who will teach ethics to these fly-by-night operators in politics to behave properly? If only their party seniors can induce some manners, culture and decency to this type of foul-mouthed leaders, on the lines of their illustrious leaders of the past, then there may be some remedy. Maybe it is high time now in our country to redefine what is parliamentary language and what is un-parliamentary one? This is important as more and more political leaders are indulging in a language that can never be called decent or in tune with dignity and decorum.
Ethics in politics is necessary for ensuring right behaviour. For inculcating the sense of ethics among the politicians and for attitudinal change, they may be exposed to a formal training on ethics in politics. But who should take a lead? Can it be Election Commission of India and the Chief Election Commissioner? Or a directive from Apex Court?
The important component of training on ethics in politics and for politicians has to be valued which in turn will provide right attitude and direction.It is predominantly the presence or otherwise of human values and ethics, which will determine effectiveness of an individual. An analysis of the malaise in the existing political situation, however, shows that despite systems and institutions are in place, the human element to drive these is lacking. Ethics must start with individual values and individual integrity. Thus, there is a need to rekindle old principles and ethical values to gain a sane perspective of work and personal life. Unethical fly-by-night politicians in Telangana shall be in the order of priority to be exposed to such a value-based training in ethics.