Never has India been in such a bad shape economically, socially and politically. The patience of a people has been assaulted in an unimaginable way and at all levels of life and living. The blatant disrespect for entrepreneurship, for ideas and alternatives, for realignments and restructuring, has never been as obvious. The arrogance of leadership has reached its peak. With an economist at the helm, one expected some out-of-the-box thinking, a slew of radical corrections, honest, clean and competent operation by government servants, as well as concerted remedial action to maintain the peace required at volatile moments such as these. The leadership has failed to make India feel protected and secure at every level and every sphere.
International investment has fled, and rightly so, because of the careless policy shifts and swings back and forth, based on personal whims and failures of governance, corrupt practice and half-truths. The Indian people have been tolerant for long, from the time of colonial subjugation to this kind of suffocation of energy, ideas, growth and change, brought on by undemocratic governments operating within the parameters of a democratic framework and liberal Constitution. The contradictions between mal-governance and the democratic laws that protect the rights and freedoms of the citizens have brought about an anarchic reality.
Most governments tend to enter a phase of complete denial when at the end of their tenure. The United Progressive Alliance is no different. It has abdicated its responsibility, probably believing that if it leaves an unholy disaster for the next incumbent to inherit, chances are that it will romp back home victorious, five years later. Sadly, it is this uncaring and unprofessional attitude to politics and governance that has made an emergent India of the first decade of this millennium a failed and sinking economy now.
Set an example
The UPA is singlehandedly responsible for the frightening slide down into the economic mess around us, for the slipshod politics that is accentuated by the politics of blackmail, for the social disorder that envelops us all, because it has not considered the rewriting, restructuring and remodelling of laws and regulations, to ensure dignity of life and purpose. The trickle-down effect has dragged us into a quagmire.
Any decent government with good sense and a commitment to its people and their needs would have put in its papers and demitted office. Here is an opportunity for Manmohan Singh to set an example by letting go and calling for early elections to stem the damage that inflicts India. He and his team at the PMO have not been able to lead a till recently bouyant India forward. Rather than sit in denial, in an ivory tower, as corruption cases and other accusations stick to the UPA and its leaders, it would make far greater sense for the UPA to dissolve a non-functioning Parliament, and go to the people in an attempt to reestablish the democratic credentials of this debilitated coalition. The business of sitting out the full term while India is being brutalized, is untenable.
If the people of India are sick of what has been relentlessly inflicted upon them, they will bring change through the ballot. If, on the other hand, all the political configurations and ‘numbers’ that the men and women in denial trot out, as they try to counter the reality on the ground, are true, the polls will unveil the will of India. Therefore, why this fear? Why this undemocratic modus operandi? Why this guilt and insecurity? Why this gross inability to speak to India? The UPA needs to learn some quick lessons from its erstwhile leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi, who reached out to the people of India.