Tuesday, July 22, 2008

 

Horse-trading, the ugly face of Indian democracy

 

Indians and even world over people untiringly keep repeating that India is world’s largest democracy. In numbers game, the fact is true and laudable. It is not easy to manage a billion people of multitude of diversities, trekking to millions of Elections booth across the country, in a ritualistic exercise, to press a button, or cross a ballot paper and come back brandishing an ink mark on one of the middle fingers, proud that they have voted for a democratic government of the country. However, it is thoroughly condemnable that in the backdrop of this almost sacred exercise to seek people’s mandate to govern the country, political groups play the kind of ugly games that can never be in the strictest term of the word, the real essence of democracy. One of the most blatant and brazen acts of the treacherous subversion of democracy, is the popularly known practice of horse-trading. 

 

As the Indian government currently seeking a confidence vote in the lower house, Lok Sabha, the numbers game that will decide if the government survives or is defeated on the floor of the house, will heavily depend on how the managers of the different political parties will be able to buy or entice elected Members of Parliaments to switch sides and vote for or against the motion of confidence. Right from the days of Congress Prime Minister, P. V. Narasimha Rao, who was successful in running a minority government to any length of time, open allegation of cash in suit cases being delivered to prospective clients in opposition camps, are bandied about, though no law enforcing agency, or the media, or the court, or even the common people have bothered to oppose the dirty game, that is a serious blot on the fair name of Indian democracy.

 

It is illegal. It is criminal. It distorts the very mandate of the people. It renders the whole electoral exercise a fraud on the people, by an oligarchic cabal who have cash and other goodies to offer, like party tickets to stand for future elections, a pardon for crimes committed either at investigation stage or under prosecution, a promise for lucrative government contracts, a prestigious post in ceremonial hierarchy of the government, a candidacy for the nearest kin. Since honesty and trust are at a premium, hard cash is the most desired currency in horse-trading. A general impression is that when it comes to money power, nobody can match the resources of the US lobby. Though it is not clear if the money power is not available to other lesser in the pecking order.

 

In his recent birthday celebration bash, the only one of the two Muslim Chief Ministers that Congress has ever appointed in any state of India, Abdur Rehman Antulay publicly declared that his Chief Ministership was sabotaged by a conspiracy of the Right and Left, under the leadership of Indian Express’s late Goenka, who worked on then Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s insecurity by convincing her, that with Arab petro dollar potentially available to an Indian Muslim political leader, Antulay could snatch the Prime Ministership from her. The credibility of this line of argument is confirmed by Indira Gandhi, demoting Abdur Rehman Antulay on trumped up charges of corruption, in which she herself was the motivator. He took the blame at party loyalist, fought law cases for over ten years of his vibrant political life and finally exonerated and restored to Congress cabinet, though at a very low priority post of Minority affairs.

 

The episode clearly points to the potential of money power that can easily destabilize any government of India, if kingmakers with money power, from inside the country, like the corporate robber barons, or from outside the country, like US and Arab oil money power.

 

Investigative journalists sometimes do report proven record of how cash is withdrawn from the banks, how suit-cases are reportedly carried on planes, how they are delivered to the door of the prospective groom or bride, for want of a better term, one can say. But no law enforcing agency dares to take up any action against such brazen-faced subversion of democracy.

 

Even the Chief Election Commission, an independent state institution that is charged with the oversight of the whole election processes all over the country has become so immune to the criminality of the horse-trading that it has never known to have raised even a finger to object to such criminal acts, even in an academic exercise to warn the people. 

 

Right from the start, when the Marxists pulled out of the governing United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition on the matter of the one major partner, the Indian National Congress, headed by an old World Bank staffer, doggedly sticking to an agreement with the US President, to sign a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, with sub-clauses inserted by Congress under Hyde Act, that bind India to a regime, seriously restricting its foreign policy and its freedom to act according to its national address, UPA is desperately trying to conjure up simple majority numbers by luring defecting MPs from other parties or even inviting smaller parties to its new emerging coalition.

 

Samajwadi Party with a substantial chunk of MPs was the first to jump into the fray and junk its membership of another coalition group, the third front, which was being build up as an alternative to the two main Brahmin-led political coalitions. The 3% Brahmins, like the 3% Jews in America, have cleverly used all tricks of the trade to conjure up majorities by demonizing Muslims and making them the common enemy of the ‘Hindus’, and are not being challenged by lower caste groups formed by OBCs and Dalits. Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party was the most important constituent of the Third Front. However, it is widely reported in media, that under the active backstage-management of his adviser, Amar Singh, a known wheeler-dealer, Mulayam Singh had cut a deal with the governing Congress Party, so that a number of court cases against them will be dropped and they will be given space in coming elections in UP state.

 

Since at a time, he was thick with UP’s Muslim voters and had been staunchly against the extremist fascist Hindutva forces, and even countered Hindutva storm troopers attacking the historical Babri Masjid, by firing in which a number of Karsevaks died, his defection to Congress fold is deeply felt by Muslim voters, as they are thoroughly disgusted over the US role invading Muslim countries and wantonly shedding the blood of hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is this factor that had surfaced in all future calculations, though in the current horse-trading phase, Muslim role is missing at all levels.

 

In technical terms, India was given a choice to opt out the nuclear civilian agreement at the time of its own choosing, but the consequences are so forbidding, that no future government will have any guts to try to get out of the shadow of the US hegemony agenda on Indian’s both internal and external affairs. The US by the very nature of its superpower status, and its overwhelming and unrelenting doggedness to bring India into its fold, in an arrangement, that can only result in India becoming a subservient nation, a dominated nation, a satellite nation.

 

So much for the real worth of India’s democracy!

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

http://www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

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