Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tenure has become a period of embarrassment for India. He is a PM on technical ground, not on moral ground.
Moral ground requires that a member of the Lok Sabha should be the PM. He is not a member of the Lok Sabha.
Moral ground requires that the PM should be the ideal leader of the country. An ideal leader should always remain aboveboard. But shenanigans behind the nuke deal with USA and cash for confidence vote that concussed the Lok Sabha are too conspicuous to be ignored. He is thus not aboveboard.
A Prime Minister takes an oath that he will safeguard and serve the Constitution. When the basic objective of the Constitution is building up India as a socialist republic he has opened up Indian economy to American imperialism and under his economic policy India has become divided into two countries: rich India and poor India even as the gap between the rich and the poor has widened like never before. The Constitution is bleeding and day by day becoming more and more irrelevant for the peoples. In public perception Executive is incompetent and corrupt, Press is rich man’s advertisement platform, Judiciary is a conundrum and Parliament is a domain of politico-commercial commodities, evidenced in the nuke deal survival vote.
Technically he is the incumbent PM. But, democratic prudence no more stands with his status. He has made such a farce of PM post that his own party, the Indian National Congress, does not project him as the next PM, but projects the son of Sonia as his replacement. Neither he has nor his closest cohorts have the guts to protest even though projection of a new man as his substitute is clearly indicative of how his own party is apprehensive of mass rejection with him as the Prime Minister seeking a fresh mandate.
It is a shame that Singh has no ability to understand this peculiar intricacy or is too power-hungry to destabilize his position by opposing advancing suggestions in favor of Sonia’s son.
Where then our democracy stands now? And how does it look at on the day of our independence?
In searching for the answer I see that the founder father of our democracy, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, while putting his final answer to the debates in the Constituent Assembly, had composed the answer as to what would happen to our democracy if the regular government formed after adoption of the Constitution fails to eliminate the possibility of the rich getting richer in India, the possibility that the propertied class representing the Congress had ensured.
In reply to the debates on third reading of the draft Constitution, he had said, “ On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic rights we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man and one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man one value…We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.979)
The country has blatantly failed to remove the contradiction. Democracy has failed. Plutocracy has replaced democracy with definite speed under the present regime. Police and Military powers of the country are being used to eliminate the people who are trying to raise their voice against exploitation. Those who have subjected the peoples of India to inequality have been branding the advocates of equality as Naxal terrorists and have been using state terrorism to silent them. But as Ambedkar has so emphatically predicted, unless contradiction of retaining one man one vote while denying one man one value is removed, those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy, the Naxal activism is increasingly expanding its base in India.
This reminds us that we the people of India, if democracy is to be saved, will have to remove the inequality so ably pinpointed by Ambedkar and so, it is time to start our freedom movement afresh.