S P E C I A L   E D I T O R I A L

“Some bare truths”
by H.K. Dua

THE President of the Republic is known for being respectful and polite to Members of Parliament and as such he has often to keep his thoughts to himself. But on Monday he decided to break out of the constraints of his office and chose to come out with what he himself described as “some bare truths”.

Holding out a mirror before the MPs, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said:

“Our polling processes have been, of late, under severe strain…. The arithmetical compulsions of incremental numbers and the alleged tradeability of certain legislative seats, won perhaps through means allegedly dubious and undemocratic, have many a time created doubts about our democratic system in the public eye. When politics degrades itself to political adventurism the nation would be on the calamitous road to inevitable disaster and ruination.

“Let us not risk it. It is time all of us did an introspection and grew up to the expectations that were enshrined so diligently and optimistically by the founding fathers in our Constitution so that India sustained itself and grew as a mature, healthy, vibrant, democratic nation.”

The President spoke a little after 10 a.m. mainly to give the Outstanding Parliamentarian Awards to Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr L.K. Advani in the Central Hall. Just an hour after the President had spoken and driven back to Rashtrapati Bhawan, Rajesh Ranjan Yadav, alias Pappu Yadav, and an accused in the murder case of a CPM leader in Bihar was brought from Tihar jail and ushered into the Lok Sabha and administered the oath as a Member of Parliament. The President luckily missed the occasion.

The President’s thoughts are noble and needed, but he merely touched on “some of the bare truths”. The rot that has set in public life and the institutions that should guide the nation is much deeper for which he — or anyone else in public life — doesn’t seem to have a cure.

The President only hinted at the distortions that have taken place in the political system and how elected members are being bought and sold, how ministries are made and unmade. He did not speak about how criminals, crooks and the corrupt are landing in the legislature in numbers.

The President spoke about the duty of the MPs to change the old laws and pass new laws that could build an India of everyone’s dream. How would Hon’ble Member Rajesh Ranjan Yadav, alias Pappu Yadav, vote for a law that would banish criminals from politics?

Arun Gawli, who made his reputation fighting gang wars in the streets of Mumbai, is now an Hon’ble Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. Surely, Arun Gawli will not allow the adoption of laws that could send him or his cronies back to prison.

There are Pappu Yadavs and Arun Gawlis in many a legislature. Even if they are not MLAs and MPs, they are friends of the politicians whom they have lent help to get elected or become ministers. The people who use their money or muscle now control politics and governance of large tracts of the land. The authorities in many states are either in cahoots with the local thugs or look the other way when time comes to take action against them.

The President was right in pointing out that unless politicians stopped political adventurism, the nation would be on the road to “inevitable disaster and ruination”. His worries are genuine. Yet he is given to optimism.

The citizen’s worries are more acute unless he or she is a member of Shining India. And what the common man goes through every day does not leave him with much scope for optimism.

Rightly or wrongly, the people of this country are given to a lot of patience and they still take the President’s warning seriously. But will the Members of Parliament also do?


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