Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Most of the patriots are no more active in politics. It has become a business of the criminals. How to stop it? The whole country, from the President to the person at the grass-root, has been cogitating this question. Let me offer an answer.
A politician’s link with his constituency provides a congenial climate to political crime. Those who do not know why ought they to vote comprise the majority of voters of this country. Therefore majority of the voters are maneuverable, purchasable. Most of them are individually timid and collectively coward. To gain their support is easier for the unscrupulous than the conscientious.
And, the unscrupulous usually uses money or muscles.
A politician’s constituency link, notwithstanding his position, leads to criminalization of politics.
Political parties, in order to steer electioneering to their advantage, make heavy investments and hence, need huge sum of money And, money flows mostly from merchants, mine-owners, hoarders and others who need political power to fuel their machines of exploitation.
Long ago, one of our most revered leaders of freedom movement, the late lamented Mr.Nabakrushna Chowdhury, when he was the Chief minister of Orissa, had warned the nation in this respect from the dais of A.I.C.C.at Berhanpur in May 1955 and had called for a change in the process of election.
Even as the nation failed to take note of it, he had initiated a mass campaign against criminalization of politics. His “famous speech” at the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachara Kendra at Balasore on 14.7.1963 is relevant even to-day.
“Huge amounts”, he had said, “are raised at the time of elections from big mine-owners and rich businessmen for which no detailed accounts are kept. XXXXXXX Even the late Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, the trusted lieutenant of Prime Minister Nehru, used to raise such funds for elections” Elaborating the modus-operandi, he had further said, “As the businessmen have to pay taxes, they do not show this amount in the actual accounts book which they have to show to the Income Tax Department. They keep note of these amounts in their personal note books.” (Annexure I to the Report of Commission of Enquiry headed by Sarjoo Prasad)
From those days to the Jain notebooks that concussed even L.K.Advani, the modus operandi has never changed.
In the latest phase of political corruption we saw how grafts influenced defense deals. Defense Minister George Fernandise had allowed his official residence to be used by his Party President for clandestine collection of graft for settling defense-deals which having been unveiled by an alert news portal, he,as well as the exposed functionary of his Party, had to relinquish respective offices.
Prime Minister Vajpayee whose own Party President was also cut red-handed while receiving graft for using his position to settle a defense deal had no other way than consenting to an official enquiry. Had the enquiry been possible in a congenial political environment, Fernandise would have found it impossible to escape. His party hoodlums started sort of blackmailing the Prime Minister by threatening to expose misdeeds of PMO.The threatening stopped after Fernandise was superimposed on central administration as the convener of National Democratic Alliance that runs the government.
The investigators got the message.
Instead of investigating into the corruption in defense deals exposed by the news portal the administration got addressed to initiate actions against the portal for its modus operandi in exposing the graft matter.
During Fernandes’ tenure as defense minister under Prime Minister Vajpayee, defense deals were so venal that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had to report on the malpractice adopted in purchase even of caskets.
The Prime Minister was not unaware of what the CAG had found,but before it was a public knowledge,he re-appointed Fernandes as the Defence minister.
Nowhere a democracy has been subjected to such venality.
This is going on in India because most of the voters do not know why they vote.They vote because they have no guts to say no to the vote collectors.And,vote-collectors are criminals.
Had there been no candidate-constituency link,there would have been no necessity of retaining or using vote-collectors.There would have been no role of criminals in politics.
How to do away with the candidate-constituency link? The answer is simple.
The first step is to deny independent candidates to contest. No individual can be allowed to impose himself on the electors.
The second step is to obstruct multiplicity of political parties. All the parties now existing or to come up in future must be read in terms of their respective aims and objects and placed in two and only two compartments on the basis of political economy. They must be placed either in socialistic or capitalistic compartments, irrespective of the national or regional outfit they ware.
The third step is to ask the two blocs to submit their respective list of candidates in order of preference along with election manifestos to the Election Commission at least six months ahead of the date fixed for voting.
The Election Commission shall give sufficient publicity to the lists of candidates and the manifestos.
No candidate or political party shall be allowed to spend any money for propaganda.
Both the print and electronic media shall be used by the EC to educate the voters on the two sets of election manifestos as well as on the list of candidates placed before it by their respective party-blocs in order of preference. There shall be no candidate for any constituency but a single bloc of as many candidates as the seats available in a legislative house would be available to the elector indicating every candidate’s position in the order of preference.
There shall be no contest between candidates but the voter shall elect either of the two sets of manifestos.
Suppose, for the Loksabha the ‘A’ set of manifesto gets elected in 200 constituencies, then the first 200 names in the list of candidates filed by the ‘A’ bloc shall be declared elected automatically. For the rest of the seats, corresponding number of candidates of the ‘B’ bloc shall be declared elected from top of the list submitted by it.
If this is done,there shall be peaceful and principled election of the best of the candidates and there shall be no scope for use of money or muscle power in electioneering.
Criminalization of politics shall stop. And, political corruption shall be a matter of the past.
Has any body any objection?