Well India is back to election season and as in every election we break a world record in the peaceful and relatively free and fair poll we undertake. Since China does not have any such exercise we being the the second largest population break the world record set by ourselves. The UPA seeks a mandate based on performance, the NDA on the basis that they can provide stronger leadership, better governance and stronger performance on issues of security. The Left along with BSP and other former heavy weights constitute the third front. They are hoping that they have the critical minimum numbers while the other two fall well short of the majority and they with outside support form a government. Among all this hubris are symbolic candidates put up by citizen groups who are well meaning and ushers of a change in the polity. They lack resources and lack the mass base and it is rare to see them winning. In Mumbai, Loksatta Party, JNM and Adolf and his group may put some of them up.
The UPA has a decent record, in terms of growth of the economy, its legislations on Right to Information, National Rural Employment Guarantee along with the farm loan waiver have been steps in the right direction, but they have been at best tentative and half-hearted attempts lacking conviction. The Government without doubt has always shown a consistent leaning towards corporate India and its policies are heavily stacked in their favour. The SEZ policy is also another example where India is allowed to gain at the cost of Bharat. A government headed by an expert in economic affairs with a dream team finance minister failed to see or predict the economic melt-down and job crisis. This is one of the bigger failings of the UPA. The PM made the Indo-US nuclear deal a prestige issue and tried to sell a dream of prosperity based on the signing of this deal. I have strong reservations on this issue. I do not think nuclear energy is a safe and cost-effective energy source and no nuclear weapon can protect any land. A nuclear India can destroy the world. To the credit of the UPA they have handled the aftermath of the Mubai terror attack with a measured and caliberated response and have through sustained diplomatic pressure made our neighbour accept their mistake.
The NDA dispensation offers us leadership of Advani, as a strong leader who can lead the nation in these times of terror. Advani for all his moderate posturing is an opportunoist who divided India on the lines of religion and the result of Babri Masjid demolition and his widespread approval of state sponsored genocide by the Gujarat government and to a lesser extent the Karnataka government of Muslims and Christains are reasons enough for us to reject him and his leadership outright. The NDA has no economic vision, or any concern for the poor India or Bharat. In the opposition they never showed any principled opposition and coherant alternative policies. The shameful parading of notes in the Lok Sabha with approval of their leadership is proof of an immature leadership. The NDA has nothing to offer to India except false posturing and a divided polity. As far as the economy is concerned the little that the UPA has done for the poor India will also not be done. The NDA has talented individuals and some proven administrators. It has a culture of merit and there is less dynastic politics.
In this mix comes the Left, which is a disciplined, non-corrupt group. But the Left is a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to West Bengal its industrial policies and SEZ policies are no different from UPA. They are arrogant and want power without responsibility. The promotion by the Left of the third front propping up of Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Naidu, Dewegowda and the Mulayam Singh-AmarSingh duo will lead India to chaos. Caste based, communal based politics will get India nowhere and take us backwards. Young India does not need this kind of leadership.
What is the solution in the present scenario? The pollsters predict a hung paliament. There is a provision in the constitution of India for MP's to elect a leader from among themselves, who can form a government taking the best available talent from all parties and form a national government. The parliament will function better as there will be issue based voting rather than opposition for sake of opposition. A consensus and unity on national issues can be evolved and government function can be smooth and at the same time no leader can take his position for granted. A National Government with all party participation attracting the best talent in the service of the nation is the best solution in the situation a hung parliament might throw up. I hope and pray God gives our leaders the vision and the capacity to submerge their egoes for the sake of the nation.
Dr. Vispi Jokhi