When the deafness of power becomes a cancer that overwhelms those that rule one billion people, the nation descends into turmoil and the people into despair and doubt. Indian leaders have been ‘deaf’ to all the corruption and bad practice in governance for as long as one can remember. But over the last five years, the acid potency of that arrogance has chipped at the fundamentals of our democracy. The United Progressive Alliance II government is about to end its term by laying this country open to any kind of ‘takeover’ as long as that keeps the incumbent coalition out of sight and memory. There is a sense of shame that Indians across all economic layers, caste and creed, feel about probity, accessibility and transparency. They expect their iconic leaders to be symbols of those values. They expect service and not rapacious greed from the top leadership that rules from Delhi.
The thick and blinding fog of failure on these fronts in spite of the passing of some salutary acts in Parliament, the endless unacceptable policy initiatives that belong to some past age of command economies, the retroactive decisions that drove away partnerships, blatant favouritism of the mediocre, rampant nepotism, and more — all simmering in the cauldron of corruption led by the political class and the administration — have damaged modern India. One wonders if this is because of the dumbed down intellectual calibre of the national leadership. Our leaders do not seem to be able to absorb the ‘whole’ with the fighting for space within the narrow walls of a planted-upon-us economic policy, from which all the horrors stem. Leaders at the helm have only a superficial comprehension of India, her politics, as well as her history.
There was a glimmer of hope when the vice-president of the Congress stepped out of line, broke through the restrictive walls of the party headquarters and resisted the terrible ordinance, the protective cover for a corrupt political class that has diseased our politics and which the UPA government was trying to push through. The prime minister withdrew the ordinance within minutes of the hurriedly assembled meeting, proving that the entire episode was unwarranted. India hoped that this was the start of a radical change in that party. But silence reigns yet again. The relief across the country was palpable when the ordinance was revoked and that single correct act endorsed the fact that the citizens want good over evil. Rahul Gandhi should use that headstart and run hard to balance the final results in 2014.
Imagine him raising a flag to bring political parties under the purview of the Right to Information Act. He will have to cut the ground from under the feet of all his opposing parties. He could then break through all the political nonsense that is inflicted upon us and ensure that the lok pal bill as well as the women’s bill are placed in the House and voted upon so that they become acts in the winter session of Parliament. Rahul Gandhi has nothing to lose. He only has to gain if all the other parties squabble and prevent the bills from going through. That would give him the best slogans of recent times to hammer his opponents with as he campaigns across India. Chances are that he will garner a large percentage of the women’s vote and most definitely the vote of middle India. What holds him back?
Why is Rahul Gandhi not reaching out to all India? Why is he not taking his open and honest confrontation with the corrupt practices and processes of the government to its logical conclusion, compelling an overhaul that could result in a generational shift of leadership at the Centre? Why is he not sharing his gameplan with a patient and waiting India?