There are moments in the history of a nation when what matters is not the identity of leaders but what they do. Such a moment confronts our nation today. For inexplicable reasons the dream created by Mr. Narendra Modi’s victory in the elections is fast turning into a nightmare. The ruling party with strange perversity is pursuing an agenda that mocks the promise of development and national rejuvenation contained in Mr. Modi’s election campaign. Never has the need for a check to unbridled power been stronger. Never has the need to create a viable national alternative offering constructive opposition been greater. And the only politicians who are responding in the right manner to the challenge confronting the nation are the group of parties described as the Janata Parivar. For them to succeed and not repeat earlier failures some advice is tendered.
Janata leaders must appreciate that they face a new India and a new situation never encountered before. For success they must discipline themselves, submerge their individual egos, and do the following.
First, however difficult it might be they must forget the past. The past is irrelevant for India’s new generation.
Secondly, to lay the foundation of a stable and genuine alternative that delivers governance the Janata leaders must not show haste but move forward methodically. Instead of simply cobbling together an increasing number of parties into their fold they must first create a solid support base on the ground cross the whole nation. That implies a nationwide movement to educate and mobilize public opinion that would also recruit members of the movement.
The nationwide movement must propagate the systemic change necessary for India’s progress. That systemic change will come when the Constitution is followed in letter and spirit as it is written. Whether it is the Inter-State Council that promised federal power to the states, or Panchayati Raj which empowered local democracy, or the powers of the President and the Governors that have all been neglected in our system’s working thus far, it can safely be said that adequate governance will not be achieved without reclaiming the true spirit of our Constitution.
Next, the Janata leaders must formulate a party constitution which is democratic and by which all decisions are to be taken strictly by observing norms. Only after a nationwide popular base is created through a movement might the Janata leaders move towards formal merger for a new party. Distinct from the issues that galvanize the public through a movement the Janata leaders might then formulate the policy agenda by which they promise to govern. All these steps must be taken by the Janata leaders if they are serious about introducing real reform in India for which they intend creating a genuine political alternative that will change not just the government but the prevalent political system and culture.
Continued to Part 2