Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where have all the leaders gone??

Elections have been announced by the Election Commission of India and all the TV channels are going blah, blah over it. The parties have started looking for alliances for the election. The blame-games have begun. Allegations and counter-allegations are coming up. More skeletons will tumble out of closets as election fever starts rising with the mercury! Amongst all the hoopla surrounding the election - this is the question that is the most disturbing one. - do we have the leaders who can lead the dynamic and young India in such extra-ordinary times of economic turmoil, terrorist threats, global warming to become the superpower that Kalaam envisaged?

The so-called national-level parties have septuagenarians and octogenarians as the prime ministerial candidate. Even for the state-level the situation is not much different. Again I am not criticizing these people just because of their age. They are all good and have served the nation for so many years. But isn't it time for someone else to take over who can bring in fresh ideas and be more proactive in the biggest business of running the nation?

I have been following elections since A. B. Vajpayee first became prime minister for 13 days. Sadly since then not much has changed. The faces all have remained the same albeit most of them have grown a little older.  No new ideas. In 2004, when UPA came to power, I thought there would be some improvement. After all we had a scientist as the president, economist as a prime minister and P. Chidambaram as the finance minister. Sadly they did not do anything radical when they had their chances. I was hoping something on the lines of 1991 from Manmohan Singh but am now disappointed.

Instead, we are seeing the decades-old tradition of chronic nepotism and cronyism when it comes to announcing the candidates. They talk of reservation for women and minorities in the parliament, yet the percentage of women and minorities standing for the election is in stark contrast with the reservations principle. Again minorities are normally given the political ticket only if the constituencies have majority population of that particular community.

Wannabe American Presidents debate on the type of policies that they are going to implement to win the election. Heck, we don't even know clearly who the prime ministerial candidate will be. I don't deny that there is no mud-slinging at the opposition during the American presidential campaigns. However, in India it is the only thing that the politicians engage in. They say that we would be bored of hearing the same old promises of roti-kapda-makaan. And my guess is that we will see a new low in the mud-slinging department too with technology being used as major weapons by all the political parties concerned. When can we see somebody at least promising us of some change? Even if we consider the younger lot - they seem absolutely clueless about the whole thing? If we consider Rahul Gandhi's immature statements, the future doesn't look promising.

Finally the most disturbing part of the whole election is, even if I vote a particular party out - they can come in through coalition. This entirely defeats the purpose of elections. This has happened in Kashmir elections that were held recently. The people voted out the PDP-Congress coalition and voted for National Conference. Congress dumped PDP and joined National Congress to form a Congress-NC alliance. How can people expect democracy to work if people don’t get the change they demanded in the elections?