Mahesh Chander Sudan
We, the people of India, are baffled to note the conduct of present political leaders that runs contrary to the acknowledged frame of mind of a leader who guides people to move towards better vision and is expected to be empathetic and connect with people to be successful. It is felt that present day political leadership is moved largely by party interests and immediate personal gains both in terms of status and wealth. Politics is the way that people living in groups make decisions in everyday life, the term politics refers to the way countries are governed, and to the ways that governments make rules and laws. Poor people exercise their mandate in favour of political leaders and expect them to govern the state for achieving general welfare of the common people of the state. It is a sacred belief of the common people that is being entrusted to these leaders unlike those primitive days when kings or monarchs used to force their own will and rule state for their betterment. We have progressively moved towards democratic set of governments where leaders are elected through an established system and are expected to function in accordance with highest law of land.
It is felt that materialism has gradually taken over the spirit of leadership lowering the sense of commitment towards self-less service and general welfare of the state. It is evident from the fact that political parties across the spectrum have strengthened themselves at the cost of state to manage public mandate in their favor during elections. Lowering image of politicians in the eyes of common people have emerged over the period of time due to the fact that majority of political leaders consider themselves above law and pay least respect to the law of land.
A glaring example of some politicians of the JKUT who failed to pay electricity bills and other rent dues for the government accommodations allotted to them as Senior Ministers, Dy CMs and members of both the houses of the state legislature is hurting image of involved leaders who represented common people of the state. It is really sordid to imagine that most of these leaders of main stream political entities have willfully failed to vacate and honour official orders despite judicial intervention. It conveys a sense of helplessness on the part of administration in implementing their orders in this case. No doubt, these leaders are vested with public authority emerging out of public mandate exercised in their favour but not for exploiting public resource for their personal use unauthorized rather than furthering welfare of the common people. It thus raises trust deficit of the people in the system and ultimately compels commoners to suspect their own decision of electing such leaders.
The poor voter losses his own confidence and starts alienating from the political set up, and his active participation in nurturing democracy minimizes to an extent that it apparently results in electing more independent candidates judged purely on merit rather than political ideology. Continuing such leaders in the party despite their unbecoming conduct and low financial impropriety may not be healthy for the political entities that preach zero tolerance to corruption but fail to practice. Senior leaders heading these entities have ultimate responsibility for ensuring above board conduct of their cadre to safeguard public perspective about their ideological strength and not the numerical one. It also evidently emerges that commoners are to bear the presence of such leader throughout his tenure of office as there is no alternate of recalling such elected representative in the system. Over and above such heavy weight politicians exert pressure of money and muscle to remain in power again and again and influence senior party cadre to award them with ministerial berths. In a civilized world, it is felt that the voice of the people could adequately be honored in democratic set of governance as compared to other options.
Presence of such large number of defaulters as highlighted above across the political spectrum of the state of J&K (now UT) speaks low about the administrative machinery that failed to check blatant misuse of public property and extended tacit approval for illegal occupancy for such a long time.
The issue needs to be dealt comprehensively to weed out possibility of any such recurrence by adhering strictly to rules and regulations and save public resource from willful exploitation by any defaulters and raise the image of public authority to build up confidence of common people in the law of land not only by penalizing offenders but by instituting adequate provisions to strengthen hands of common people and allow them to have right to recall such elected representatives during their tenure prematurely in the interest of healthy and mature democracy. Let the will of the people prevail to nurture Indian democracy and uphold the law of land. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.
(The author is WgCdr (Retd)
Mahesh Chander Sudan