Delhi Chief Minister Mrs. Sheila Dikshit is a seasoned politician. She belongs to a generation when there was much greater awareness and observance of democratic norms in India. In today’s context regardless of norms politicians can brazen themselves through all kinds of lapses that might have been committed. But this state of affairs cannot last. Any objective appraisal of current events would indicate that the speed with which democracy is declining in India has led the nation to near a breakdown of the system. Either the system must reform or democracy will collapse. Only hopeless pessimists would believe that democracy will collapse. Political reform will come in India after cataclysmic events. I believe we are at the threshold of such events.
The Comptroller Auditor-General (CAG) has submitted his report. It nails the Delhi government for lapses during the Commonwealth Games (CWG) that caused huge losses to the exchequer. The chaotic nature by which we are governed today hugely facilitates the commission of such lapses. The whole truth would reveal that responsibility of the lapses is not confined to simply the Delhi government but would extend far, far beyond its jurisdiction.
Mrs. Dikshit has responded to the CAG report in conformity with current political conduct. She has not denied that corruption may have occurred. She has taken refuge behind unconvincing technicalities. She has stated that if any of her officials committed mistakes they might be questioned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for which her administration would fully cooperate.
Mrs. Dikshit would know that her response is wholly inadequate. Regardless of the culpability of any of her officials committed either outside her knowledge or, because of the curious way the system operates today, outside her control, she should know that by the democratic norms that prevailed at the start of her political career she must bear constructive responsibility and resign. This would be not only good principle but also good politics. As events unfold and pressures mount the very Congress which protects her today will sacrifice her before the forthcoming U.P. assembly elections. It is better to go with grace than in disgrace.
So, what should Mrs. Dikshit do? One ventures to advise her to not only accept the constructive responsibility for lapses committed by her officials and resign. At the same time she could reveal the flaws in our current mode of governance that renders corruption inevitable. She should speak the whole unalloyed truth in order to lay the foundation for the political reform that simply must be introduced if India is to survive as a viable democracy. By so doing she would serve the interests of the nation. She would serve her own interests. She would earn her place in history.