The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A recent poll conducted by NDTV indicated a fast developing trend among potential voters. The trend speaks volumes about what people in both rural and urban India are beginning to feel about the various political dispensations in modern-day India. Television has exposed to a hitherto isolated-from-information majority citizenry the true nature of a rapacious, exploitative and unintelligent leadership that suffocates us all.

As I have often mentioned in the past, Manmohan Singh, along with Sonia Gandhi and many of his cabinet colleagues from the Congress, has, over the last three years, brought a semblance of dignity to the government. They have also given the ruling forums organized intellectual inputs as well as the much-needed credibility. The ordinary hardworking and honest citizens seem to think so too.

Having said this, many of us did feel that with a team as strong, more could have been initiated and achieved if only to ensure progress on many fronts without bringing about a stagnation in ways of thinking and by keeping up with the changing world. A new, energetic generation is now determined to break free from the constraints of predictable and degraded third-world politics. The majority of Indians want to breathe freely and are looking for opportunities that will release them from bondage.

Our impatience with the United Progressive Alliance reflected a desire within us to force the government to get on with the complex tasks at hand, to waste no more time in dealing with petty political positions and ideological posturing that have, unfor- tunately, become the essential ingredients of coalition politics.

Change is in the air

The truth is that threats and blackmail have dominated the public discourse and our once sacrosanct parliament has been violated. Thoughtful, democratic debate has been diluted to a point of no return, and many of our elected representatives have used the Lok Sabha as a shield so that they are able to abuse our democracy and everything else that is held sacred.

Over the last month or so, our stature on the world stage has taken a beating as a result of juvenile interventions by parties that oppose the nuclear deal with the United States of America. One feels intellectually dwarfed by the abysmal quality of dialogue and saddened by the emerging international perception that we are a fourth-world nation, struggling to raise the basic dignity of the lives of our people to an acceptable and humane level.

We are a great people, inheritors of an extraordinary and diverse civilization, but are ruled by a rather immature political class, albeit with a few exceptions. The communication of this deterioration in ethics, of the abject failure to rule with honesty and restore a sense of security, peace, harmony and decency to all the economic strata of society, has overpowered the population of this benighted land.

Our ruling class is sitting on a time bomb that could explode in its face. Political parties indulging in the kind of politics I have described are winning fewer seats during elections and the Congress, despite its corroded and hugely frayed base, is standing apart, gaining ground. The reality that television brings into our homes has exposed the hollow rhetoric that the bulk of our leadership indulges in.

The Manmohan Singh-led UPA seems to have injected a magic potion into the ailing body politic. This has put in motion a healing process. The people of India are proud to have a dignified prime minister whose ‘sons and sons-in-law’ are not busy raking it in. The prime minister’s commitment to India is total. It is evident that a renewal of dignity is in the air.

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