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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 110

India: Dirty politics go on

Oken Jeet Sandham

Oft-repeated Johnson's definition that politics is the last resort of the scoundrel holds good even today. This is true to everywhere in the world. Even the one who never won in electoral politics in his lifetime can even confidently thunder that he, in the house of sixty or so, will be forming the next Government. Even some political leaders started deriding the ruling UPA’s nominee for the country’s Presidential race, Pratibha Patil, as a “big joke,” saying her candidature for the highest seat of the country cannot compare to that incumbent President APJ Abdul Kalam’s stature.

Even these leaders have sprung up to support Kalam for his second term too. This dragging of Rashtrapati Bhavan into the vortex of murky politics has been going on, finally forcing Kalam to thunder: “enough is enough.” Never mind. The vibrant democratic country like ours, politics soil such sanctity seats----be it Presidential or Gubernatorial.

“In five years time in Rashtrapati Bhavan we have all worked for transforming it into a people’s bhavan. Rashtrapati Bhavan has become a people’s bhavan today. I believe it should be an example for the nation. It should not get degenerated. That is why I said enough is enough,” he said.

Normally high profile and distinguished persons were sent by their respective political parties to occupy these highest Constitutional seats. For example, the incumbent Vice President of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, was the former BJP Chief Minister of Rajasthan and he was put up as Vice Presidential candidate by then BJP-led NDA Government at the Center and won that prestigious Constitutional Post.

Although the Constitution clearly says that the moment he or she occupies highest Constitutional posts like Presidentship or Governorship of the country, they should cease to associate with whatever party that sponsored them and remain neutral or apolitical. Yet, we keep seeing criticisms after criticisms against some Governors in the past for siding with either ruling or the opposition parties and at times for murder of democracy. There have been cases where the affected parties moved to Court and the ruling came in their favor. This shows that those Constitutional guardians have soiled the vibrant democratic fabric of the country, trickling down to even local electoral processes.

Some aptly call some politicians as “political prostitution” as they are like “chameleon.” Sometimes, there was no reasoning at all of their demands and actions. At the same time, some did not mind putting their signatures undated to be used at an opportune time to dislodge their own leader. What irresponsible elected leaders and so spineless they are. What is more interesting is shamelessly admission of such unsavory acts. A real tragicomedy it is.

Bringing out of 91st Amendment Act, 2003 was mainly to give remedy to all these murky politics in the country. One good thing this Act has done is it limits the size of all ministries. This Act stipulates that the strength of a council of ministers should not exceed 15 percent of the total number of members in the Lok Sabha (in case of the central government) or the relevant state assembly. An exception has been made only for smaller states that they can have a maximum of 12 ministers. The culture of political defection has also drastically reduced with the coming of this Act. But this does not stop nasty political games. One can see how Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh after swearing in of his seven-Member Ministry nearly three months ago is now in a limbo.

He is in a dilemma and cannot exercise expansion, fearing it might cost his leadership. Earlier, these smaller States used to appoint the entire ruling MLAs as Ministers, consuming huge public exchequer.

Interestingly, State like Nagaland or Meghalaya has created Parliamentary Secretary Posts to be held by those MLAs who failed to get Ministerial birth. The irony is the purpose of downsizing the size of the Ministries as per the new Act is not served as these Parliamentary Secretaries are more or less functioning as Ministers because many of them hold some departments independently and moreover public hounding is less for them. It is really safer for them but some Ministers are now grumbling at that.

All these Acts of the Constitution do not improve the health of our Governance and democracy, as our leaders continue to fail their Constitutional duties. Their failures are also largely accountable in giving an opportunity to the multi-faceted insurgent organizations particularly operating in the northeast region for their expansions.

- Asian Tribune -

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