Finally, we see the start of a serious political intervention from Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh, where he is taking on issues that farmers face across India in this phase of change, development and growth. Therefore, he is seen to have moved out of the contained Youth Congress and student initiatives onto the larger national political stage. Many believe it is about time he orchestrates a substantive and proactive role that can lead a moribund party — beset with ‘leaders’ who indulge in politicking and manoeuvring without a counterpoint that is real or essential — into a period of reinvention, if it is to play a dominant national role in the future.
India needs its new leadership to return to the realities on the ground and abandon their comfort zones in New Delhi or in other state capitals that have been saturated with half-truths, political misinformation, personal agendas and the granting of illegitimate favours. Manipulative politics alone, without the more important imperative of addressing the true concerns of the citizens through policies and administration, is playing a destructive role in today’s world. An aggressive attempt to get out there and try comprehend the changing socio-economic transition that India is struggling with is bound to rekindle hope and generate the much-needed trust in the leadership. There is no other solution. Old hands, who have isolated those in power with tactics, need to be purged and used only for negotiations, not to deliver to a civil society.
The agriculture sector has been misused, exploited and allowed to rot. This abject neglect has affected the backbone of this country and its democracy. People have been subjected to a life that is unacceptable. Large numbers have risen in armed revolt because their plea was ignored for more than five decades. A corrective has to be administered if India is to restore dignity in the lives of its people — rich or poor, rural or urban.
The dynamics of our new age demand multi-pronged solutions to the complex infrastructural needs of a democracy, existing at many socio-economic levels. If the leaders do not commit themselves to India and Bharat, they will be responsible for the escalation of a militant anarchy, alongside the rise of political, economic and social discord.
In the same vein, the management and operation of the political system need to be radically reformed. The ‘this-too-shall-pass’ attitude cannot be put into play any more. A trickling down of the much-touted rate of growth should be the only bonus attached to a planned delivery of goods and services to the 50 per cent of India that has been left behind in the great opening-up of the economy. We need a concerted effort to overhaul the machine that worked for a few and disrespected the majority. Imagine the babu and the politician having to live on their ‘bonus’ without their salaries!
Stringent rules must apply everywhere — from income-tax issues to no-objection certificates. These rules should be simple and clear to one and all, with no space for ‘interpretation’, by using the endless addenda that are attached to the primary documents. In the service sector that generates more than 50 per cent of the gross domestic product, one-window clearances should replace the unhealthy use of paper, bribery and corruption. That is the first job of any government. A fresh blueprint needs to be drawn with transparency and accountability.
If Rahul Gandhi is the lead actor on the stage and makes it his crusade and commitment to lead India onto a new trajectory compelling a change of course, a new generation could be energized. Constant public political engagement is the only tool that can change the present, insular narrative.