King Alexander once questioned a captured pirate ,’What is your idea in infesting the sea?’ The pirate answered “the same as you in infesting the earth. But because I do it with a small craft, I am called a pirate…you command a large army so you are called King… ’’ We, the people too, are similarly guilty of making marauders our rulers. Our invaluable franchise has to be exercised to elect authentic ,principled, transformational leaders--not these worn out masqueraders desperately capturing and then dishonourably clinging to power
But unfortunately ,today's politics is full of such masqueraders who, in the garb of providing “swaraj” , have been reduced basically to distributing freebies to get votes. This has been the practice for the past several decades basically in some of the southern states of our country where distribution of free sarees, free television sets, free mixers- grinders, and to top it all free distribution of currency notes , has been in vogue for decades during which it has become an integral part of the election winning process .
The same practice is creeping into the political landscape of northern states also . The credit of beginning this culture of freebies distribution goes to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Party convener Arvind Kejriwal . In Delhi, the main plank of the current ruling party is distribution of free water and free electricity etc. It seems there is only one task left with the government of Delhi ,and that is to collect money from citizens by way of taxes and distribute freebies to their vote banks.
There is, indeed, no concern towards or resolution of the long pending citizen centric issues like unemployment , lack of good quality health and education, poverty alleviation, or solving the pollution problem. These short-sighted politicians are busy befooling the people that they are doing their utmost to alleviate their poverty and misery. How long is this going to continue is the question which begs an urgent answer.
The unfortunate part of our new found political culture is to-capture power by hook or crook. For this, these people are willing to go to any lengths, even painting themselves as virtue personified and practitioners of truth and integrity.
The question that needs to be asked today is: Will giving free water, free electricity, free bus ride, free Wi-Fi etc. solve any of the problems facing the people of Delhi? The answer clearly is no.
These short-sighted politicians like Kejriwal do nothing more than this in the name of administering the state. This culture of distributing freebies has already caused enormous damage not only to our polity but to the growth process of our country by frittering away our scarce resources in totally non-productive ventures, only to garner votes. Unfortunately, this culture of distributing freebies perpetuated by politicians like Kejriwal has already caught up with the other Northern States. The present governments ruling the northern States like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand , Punjab etc. are marching ahead on the same path with announcements of distribution of free laptops, tablets ,bicycles and what not. When and where it is going to end is anybody’s guess.
Another troubling feature of Kejriwal politics is creating a false narrative by various means, including media publicity, through sympathetic sections of the fourth estate . The Delhi CM has proclaimed that true democracy is the one where laws are not discussed inside assembly buildings but are discussed and debated on roads . He termed this as true grass root democracy in action. While hiding his own hidden personal agenda and future political ambitions , he went around meticulously selling the false narrative and his ill- conceived and half- baked ideas to our gullible population and to even the educated lot who had no inkling of the game being played behind closed doors.
When Arvind Kejriwal was spearheading the Lokpal movement, he made the claim that he was bringing the Lokpal Bill to end all the misery of the people, ushering in an era of prosperity.
He knew that he was making a false promise and nothing was going to change with the passing of the Lokpal Bill. Still, an absolutely false narrative was created in the minds of a large number of people that bringing Kejriwal to power will auto-correct all the ills plaguing our capital .
It’s abundantly clear by now that the Lok Pal act failed to deliver anything. He could fool people into believing that the Lok Pal act would be the panacea for all the ills plaguing India. Looking at past events, it can be safely inferred that Kejriwal had no understanding of how the system works.
The time has come for people to realize that governance is serious business and cannot be left to the mercy of those who are busy distributing freebies only to garner votes. People need to realize that populist political leaders like Kejriwal who are busy indulging ,day and night, in creating false narratives by shamelessly spending taxpayers' money on their own publicity, need to be shown the door . We have had enough of these masqueraders . We need authentic and principled human beings as our leaders.
(Vijay Shankar Pandey retired from the Indian Administrative Service. He has an established record of raising his voice against corruption in public life. Views expressed are exclusive to India Narrative and are personal)