Soap Opera Before 2014!

Early on in the poll campaign under way the big corporate owned media had predicted that the 2014 general election would be like a presidential contest between Mr. Nirendra Modi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. This wish reinforced the long held view that to become a mature and stable democracy India too like America and Britain should evolve into a two-party system. Sure enough, developments thus far seem to confirm the prediction. The contest has developed into a blistering exchange between the two aspirants for Prime Minister. This has furthered the hope of some elitists that India is indeed evolving into a mature two-party democracy.

Is India evolving into a two-party system?

Given the influence of the corporate lobby the possibility cannot be ruled out. Just consider the unprecedented and enormous support in human and financial resources from abroad that is reaching out in this current election campaign. Is India evolving into a mature democracy? Perish the thought. The level of debate between both contending leaders is like the farcical caricature of a soap opera.

Apart from one liners, personal jibes, personal anecdotes, stale platitudes, and promised goals there is no worthwhile content in any of the speeches of either candidate. This is unlike electoral debates in America and Britain. Indian media dutifully goes to town with the contrived controversy created by trivial and frivolous exchanges. Who is or is not a prince, and who does or does not care for his immediate family is not the stuff of serious debate. And never before in the history of independent India has there been such dire need for serious debate to address the gravest crises that confront the nation. Therefore both candidates and their advisors are earnestly requested to abjure the silly gossip and chatter they are presently indulging in and get down to identifying not merely problems the nation faces and goals it needs to reach but offer some concrete policies that address these. They should stop entertaining the public and start educating it.

India needs to know what should be done to set things right. In pursuance of this request just a few of the many burning problems confronting the nation that need to be addressed is listed with the hope that the aspirants offer the public some concrete policy instead of empty polemic.

Consider corruption.
Apart from numerous specific cases of corruption that have been exposed while the culprits are entirely or virtually unpunished, there is the systemic failure exposing total lack of accountability in our system of governance. Neither prime ministerial candidate has opened his mouth to address this cancerous political ailment. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address this problem?

Consider national security.
Terrorism continues to flourish. China despite enlarging trade continues with its belligerent border policy laying claim to large populated Indian territory. It continues to augment Pakistan’s nuclear and missile strength directed against India. Pakistan continues to violate the border, encourage cross border terrorism and refuse to curb anti-Indian fundamentalists spreading hatred against India inside Pakistan. Does either prime ministerial candidate have a clear policy to address these problems?

Consider the Kashmir dispute that lies at the heart of our problems with Pakistan. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address this problem?

Consider the current Telangana demand, the desirability or otherwise to create smaller states, the need to introduce genuine federalism in our sub-continental nation by rationalizing the division of power between the centre, the states and the local bodies. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address these problems?

Consider the huge gaps in the working of our Constitution which have wrecked federalism, ruined governance and removed all accountability from our political system. Note the several key Articles of the Constitution and some key directives of state policy that have never been implemented. The Constitution needs review. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address this issue?

The form and substance of affirmative action to introduce social justice in our nation have left huge segments of our population aggrieved and angry and at the same time created bitter divisiveness between many castes and communities. This is tearing the nation apart. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address this problem?

The economy is sinking. Corruption is rampant. Prices are soaring. Unemployment particularly in rural India is mounting. Our foreign trade policy has all but crippled our manufacturing sector of industry. Does either prime ministerial candidate have any clear policy to address these problems?

One can go on. The list of very serious problems that are threatening the stability and integrity of our system is long. By any objective yardstick India is facing the gravest crisis since independence. One would have thought that prime ministerial candidates would focus on some of the key issues confronting the nation and inform voters how precisely they intend to tackle them. As yet nether candidate has addressed even the fringe of the national crisis. Does either candidate have any policies or ideas about how to meet the challenge? Or is it that the big corporate powers that back both of them will decide these issues? In that event the next Prime Minister at best will offer merely more efficient implementation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s approach. It may at best lead to marginally improved status quo.

Is that all that India needs and wants? After Mr. Modi’s Patna rally and the bomb blasts a BJP victory appears unassailable. Is that not all the more reason for Mr. Modi to stop targeting his opponent and start focusing on serious policy issues?


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3346      Comments: 3

Comment Sir,

Very important issue of bringing back the black money in foreign bank accounts abroad needs to be addressed as well with concrete steps proposed.

Such a move can change India's fortune overnight (of course if handled smartly)

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
31-Oct-2013 02:45 AM

Comment Yes, I noticed these hollow talks in speaches of Modi and Rahul, although they are not comparable.

These hollow speaches lacking any details of the meassure the leader or his party would take. This means (1) either details not to be disclosed before election menifesto is published, OR (2) they do not want to promise anything !!

However, I heard full speech of Mr. Modi of Patna, personal attacks were very minimum in time duration of his speach. As I understand from the article, the point if not about the personal attack or defense, but about the specific plans and strategies that the aspirant leader would like to adopt to takcle serious problems - THEY ARE NOT ADDRESSED SO FAR.

Thanks to Mr. Puri for highlighting media's role in deliberately influencing masses towards one side. Media is more powerful than opposition in this country these days, let's aknowledge it. Accordingly, any 'pleading' to bring upon good changes or to highlight issues and asking right questions, should be urged to media first and the opposition later. Opposition voices are shunned successfully and persistently in last 8-9 years.

Since I can put individual opinion on this comment, I can name the media houses according to my opinon - I have observed THE TIMES NOW is hell bent pushing Modi (and Neutral on Mrs. Gandhi) while the NDTV is busy favouring the Congress and supressing/misleading about Modi & the BJP. By the way, this is a recent change from TIMES NOW !

But, democracy is about choosing among the available alternatives, these media houses, even if they wish to bring upon real change in India, have to chose among the 'availables', so is the question to 'aam aadmi'

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
30-Oct-2013 05:11 AM

Comment Mr. Puri is right. Modi should and must address current issues facing inside
and out side the country. This should be his goal if he wants not to loose
the ground won by him. Personal attacks do pay but they should be used sparingly. Corruption is eating health and wealth of the nation. Attacks on
the frontiers are increasing day by day by Pakistan and China in spite of
peace negotiations with our brotherly countries. Clear thinking by both the
candidates of BJP and Congress should be presented by PM candidates
USA is watching this minutely as seen from media treatment of India politics.
Of course their thinking is mature but self motivated. Think tanks of both the
candidates should present them with righteous views. Interest of the nation
should never be lost. Smaller parties have their own values, especially for
election seats in long run for the post of prime minister. They add in final
total which will decide who will guide India for next seven years. In short personal attacks should be left out and people should be told what he will do in the interest people and the country if he gets elected by their votes.

pranlal sheth
29-Oct-2013 23:41 PM

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