Karnataka: Decline of the Quality of Politics in India

Karnataka has shown us a trailer of what is going to happen in LS 2019. We have to choose the Best amongst the Worst. This is not a “Win for Democracy” or “Win for Secularism” as is being projected by politicians. This is a shame for India.

Is using the Office of the Governor to get a backdoor entry as CM better than forming a last-minute coalition to stop the largest party from coming to power in the State? Both are examples of the decline of the quality of politics in India. The last few weeks have proven that there is a complete disregard to the sentiments of the citizens in this country when it comes to grabbing political power.

The arrogance of both BJP and Congress is disquieting. I don’t see an ounce of integrity or honesty of purpose in these politicians making tall claims on TV. These are the people who wake up the CJI of SC at 2 am in the morning and make 3 SC Judges discuss a political deadlock and announce a decision within 24 hours. But when it comes to political corruption, corporate frauds, communal murders, rapes and whatever else, they drag the cases without any outcomes for decades.

Buses and hotels are organized to protect MLAs. A 100-year-old political party like Congress does not know how to keep their own MLAs together. It’s ridiculous. A 50-year-old party like BJP, who has come to power on the promise of changing governance in this country is using money and threats to gain political ascendancy.
The BJP has just shown to the world that it is no different from Congress when it comes to political integrity. They made a corrupt jailbird as their CM candidate and tried gaining power by hurriedly coronating him by arm-twisting the Governor and the CJI. Their corrupt party leaders like Reddy brothers and CM were openly offering bribes to MLAs of JDS and Congress.

What happened to the “Na Khaunga Na Khaane Doonga” ( neither I will eat nor I will let you eat) promise made not so long ago?

I have tried convincing myself for the last 4 years that Narendra Modi is above all this. He is our PM and he is above party politics. But that is not the case. For 4 years he has consistently proven to me that his Party is above his Prime Minister’s position. During elections, he behaves like a local leader. He shouts, hams, mimics, and spreads half-truths and blatant lies like a pro. And he doesn’t care, because he knows that he has a support base of people who enjoy this tamasha or ignore it as political compulsions. They love and worship him like a rockstar.

Thousands of crores are wasted every year due to bad governance. No sector in the world allows such inefficient nincompoops to operate with such low levels of service quality and delivery. But no questions are asked, no penalties are imposed. Because we are busy taking sides. Our own money is at stake, but we fight for political one-upmanship.

Nobody wants to sit and think. Fangs are out the moment political criticism begins. We don’t value our vote. We value myths created by politicians about the country of our dreams. Shanghai and California, Bullet Trains and Ram

Statues are what appeals to us. We cannot understand why we see so many poor around us even after 70 years of independence.

A BJP supporter will turn his face away to all wrongs committed by his party of choice. A Congress supporter will support Rahul Gandhi when he knows that a guy like him will not be tolerated for even a day in a professional corporate set up in India. But we find excuses to support them. Amit Shah is called the Chanakya for all immoral activities he does for his party. It is an insult to the intelligence and integrity of Chanakya. But who cares.

A politician needs to be seen as a service provider. A PM deserves the same respect as the CEO of Vodafone. A CM is a Regional Head. If they do not deliver, we should be free to question them without malice. Have you seen Airtel and Vodafone customers fight among themselves to prove who is a better service provider? We discuss with us and switch the service. Companies die when they fail to perform. The same rule needs to apply to politicians and their parties. But they don’t.

In 1980, when I was a kid, I saw a traffic police taking a bribe for the first time in my life. 30 years later, my daughter saw the same sight on the road one day. So what has changed in this country?

30 years back I thought I would die inside a crowded local train in Mumbai. Today that travel experience has become worse than what it was. So what has changed in this country?

Kashmir was burning and Maoists were killing policemen in 1980s. They still do. What has changed in this country?

An under construction flyover collapsed in the PMs constituency like it used to 20 years ago. Ganga is still unclear as it was in the 80s. Railway accidents happen every year killing hundreds. Hindus and Muslims dislike each other as was the case in 1947. Rapes have increased. Murders have gone up. Frauds have increased and defaulters are roaming freely as they were decades ago. What has changed in this country?

In the last 100 years see images of how cars, planes, shoes and even underwear designs have changed. But look at our politicians. They still stand on a podium and make tall claims that they know they can never achieve in their lifetimes.

Because nothing has changed in politics. It was about power then and it is about power now. Citizens were voting banks then and they are vote banks now. Lies was prevalent then as they are now. Politics has not been able to keep pace with modern societies.

Politics needs a makeover in India. When I look at these political megalomaniacs fighting for power, my head hangs in shame. These guys first need to change themselves before they can change the country. And for this to happen we need to change ourselves before we can see the change in this country.

As citizens of a modern and progressive society, we need to reimagine politics-as-it-is to politics-as-it-can-be. We need to think about how we can change the status quo through disruptive ideas. Self-governance? Swarajya? Can we imagine a governance model without political power? There has to be something somewhere that has the potential to destroy the traditional political models, structures, and hierarchies in this country.

They need to die because they are an epic fail.


Ninad Vengurlekar

The writer Ninad Vengurlekar is Masters in Education Technology, from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He runs an EdTech start-up and is based out of Mumbai.

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