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Elections in Bihar
by K. Gajendra Singh Bookmark and Share
 

Continued from: Will India Ever be a Nation with Rule of Law, Unlikely!

On recent elections in Bihar, Indian media was again info-challenged and incorrect. Prior to the elections forecasts were made about the victory of development policies of the incumbent leader of the least developed OBCs, Nitish Kumar- almost predicting that he might even get majority on his own without its alliance partner. (It is as well that the trivia and celerity obsessed TV channels, easily influenced by money and political clout have been barred from forecasting biased opinion polls before the elections are complete. The exaggerated role of development under Kumar to falsely claim that the beast of casteism has been tamed is much off the mark. Caste based politics emerged victorious again.
 
After the disastrous 15 years of misrule by comedian dhoort Yadav leader Lalu, development, law and order could only improve. What Nitish has done, is to create a new caste calculus. He has denied development benefits to Yadavas of Lalu and Dalit sub-caste of Ram Vilas Paswan, who fought the elections in alliance and directed them to his new caste combination. He also gave attention and gave financial and other benefits to women at large, thus successfully courted them.
 
Nitish’s Janata Dal JD(U) and rightwing Hindu Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance won the election with a huge margin. It won 206 assembly seats (63 seats more than in the 2005 assembly election) while the nearest rival, RJD-LJP, managed a mere 25 (39 seats less than their total tally in 2005). The Congress managed only four assembly seats (five less than 2005). The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) won one seat each while independent candidates got six seats. In terms of votes, the JD(U)-BJP alliance polled 39.1 per cent votes leading the RJD-LJP alliance by 13.5 per cent votes (RJD-LJP polled 25.6 per cent of the votes).
 
According to Sanjay Kumar of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi  Nishit Kumar “aimed for Dalits, who traditionally favored the LJP, and Muslims, who traditionally voted for the RJD. Kumar announced various welfare schemes that benefited all lower-caste Dalits referred to as “Maha-dalits”, only leaving out the Dusadhs, the caste to which Ram Vilas Paswan himself belongs. Similarly, he announced several schemes to benefit lower castes amongst Muslims, referred to as “pasmanda Muslims”. While these policies benefited those for whom they were meant, they also helped Nitish Kumar effectively split the Dalits and Muslims and reap electoral gains for himself.”  Another important factor was the higher castes, favored neither by Lalu Yadav alliance nor Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) went over to BJP, which did unexpectedly well, even beyond its own expectations. Thus caste still remains the main arbiter in elections.
 
It can be easily seen that with many parties in fray and the first past the post system, the ruling coalition with 39.1% votes won 206 seats while the main opposition alliance of RJP-LJP won only 25 seats with 25.6 % of votes. Quite clearly something is wrong with the system and it can hardly be considered representing the will of the electorate.
 
All around the world electoral systems are designed to make them as representative of peoples will as possible. Not that they are completely satisfactory, but the Indian system is one of the least representative and undemocratic, but Indians continue to persist with this electoral law.
 
But then Hindus still swear by Vedas, which were not even divined in India (there are no proofs of remains of horses in India at the time Vedas sprouted out of divinity). Not written either and even much latter transmitted only orally and restricted to Brahmins and their families. It is a well-known fact that transmission by memory can be and has been changed to suit certain objectives. The power obtained by secrecy remains the Hindu and Indian creed. It needed an Italian born leader to loosen the stranglehold of secrecy by enacting the Right to Information Act, with which the ruling classes are not happy at all since it unveils their illegal and evil deeds in black and white. There are efforts to curb or dilute the RTI act. Some RTI activists have been killed.
 
Now that a third political party has emerged in Britain, they have announced possible changes in the electoral law. The voter will have first and second preference votes. One who gets one plus 50% of the votes cast will be elected as peoples representative; but not in India where we, otherwise, look to Britain and now to Washington for eternal guidance and inspiration, for almost everything. We will not change what we have copied from the British. There is almost no discussion to change the flawed electoral law, which is prima facie against the principle of democracy and peoples’ representation in the Parliament. Only one Harish Salve has mentioned it. The village yokels, the urban riffraff and criminalized elements who now occupy the legislatures, seem quite happy with shameful happenings, like fights and violence and the sale of votes at every change or likely change of the government. Democracy has been perverted. 

Many people say that MP (member of parliament) stands for maha pindari (big time highway robbers–eliminated by the English colonialists) or maha pakhandi (big fraud). Many politicians would certainly fit this description. Some rightly say that elections only mean one set of the pindaris replacing another.
 
During the state-supported pogrom in Gujarat in 2002 against Muslims, the ruling BJP would not admit to its crimes. Instead, it brought up the issue of how under Congress rule in 1984, after the assassination (by her Sikh bodyguards) of then premier Indira Gandhi, many thousands of Sikhs were killed and burnt alive, mostly led by Congress goons who remain unpunished, to justify the murders and killings in Gujarat. While some progress under the Supreme Court monitoring has been made, Hindu criminals in collusion with a polarized bureaucracy and the police have been let off. As a result, many Muslims in India have started joining subversive organizations. The chickens will come home to roost. 

The same attitude prevails when the BJP and its allies are caught with their hand in the till. They start accusing the Congress and other parties of corruption in the past, as if to justify their own corruption now. And it continues unabated. The people of India continue to suffer as they have over centuries. The political class and their supporting "industry" have become a burden on the poor masses. Indian democracy has been reduced to ritual festivals of meaningless polls and ministry formations, both occasions for free-for-all money exhorting. With many jaded film stars invited and joining politics and elected with some even getting into the cabinet, the tamasha (play acting) is now complete. India has verily entered the Nautanki Yug.

Regardless of whoever is in power, though, the wheel of unending suffering of the Indian masses will continue. So apart from defeating the current "rascals" in power, what purpose is served? The political class has totally destroyed the instruments of governance. And no country or corporate organization can last without good bureaucracy or administration. 

The Ottoman Empire, based on the merit system for recruitment and promotion, lasted for 600 years. When distortions entered the system, the empire rapidly declined and collapsed. The Roman Empire also lasted long because it, too, was initially based on merit. It was possible for a citizen from anywhere to become an emperor. US is also collapsing because of the greed and corruption of its ruling financial, military-industry and other corporate interests.

In the Indian system, under the spreading pernicious system of reservations, a variation of the Brahaminical caste system, the Indian political class has institutionalized mediocrity and decay. The loyalty of the bureaucracy and other levers of power is to individuals, families, caste dynasties, and not to the state. In this situation, dynastic families and mafia continue to misrule. 

Apart from the judiciary, the media was to keep a watch on political parties and the bureaucracy. There may be a free-for-all in the Indian media, but they have largely lost their mission and professional integrity. Many of them are compromised by study grants and well-paid visits to the West for seminars and short courses. Many media barons have an unholy relationship with politicians, not for principles, but for pelf and power. Many have become politicians to promote their interests. They feed on each other. Verily an unholy nexus again!

Ombudsman or Lokpal Bill under consideration since 1966!
 
It is a matter of national shame that successive regimes during the past 30 years have refused to pass a bill to appoint an ombudsman, who would be empowered to look into corruption and other charges against ministers, members of parliament and other politicians. In the wake of current trenchant criticism and widespread disgust with overwhelming corruption by the ruling elite, with one scam following after another, the Central government has dusted up the 30 year old modified acceptable-to-all draft of the Ombudsman or Lokpal Bill. But there it rests.
 
In 1966, the Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended the enactment of a law for setting up a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in every state. But while 17 states have already set up Lokayuktas — Orissa was the first state to do so — successive central governments have been unable to do much. The question whether the PM and his Cabinet colleagues should be brought within the purview of the Lokpal were the major roadblocks. It has hardly made much difference in states with Lokayuktas, because pliable retired judges are made Lokayuktas.
 
Quite clearly, politicians are not interested in eradicating corruption among themselves. Many corruption trials have been going on for decades, with the courts functioning at a snail's pace where politicians are involved. The scams are invariably used before elections to throw mud at an opponent. 

The body of the fish rots only when its head gets infected. Unless cabinet ministers, members of parliament and other politicians are brought under the ambit of the law and the guilty punished, their ill-gotten wealth confiscated, there is little hope of India taking its place in the comity of democratic and fully-developed nations dispensing justice to all speedily. 

There is something rotten in the (Judicial) State of Denmark.

At a seminar in Chandigarh two years ago on the 'Responsibility of Judicial System towards the Society', Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi said that the judicial system had become a business in the eyes of the people. He said that due to the harassment suffered by the common man in his struggle for justice, 95 percent of the people do not go to courts at all, suffering silently. "Those 5 percent, who do go, wait in queue for many years, empty their pockets to hire a lawyer. It's a nightmare for the common man --," adding that this was the reason people had started taking law in their hands. (The judicial system is therefore openly and brazenly misused by the government, the rich, the politically powerful and the criminals)

Corrupted Judiciary 

The judicial redress will remain a far cry in India where eight of the last Chief Justices of India’s Supreme Court were proclaimed to be corrupt according to a public declaration by senior Supreme Court advocate Shanti Bhusan, a former federal law minister of India. He has challenged the Supreme Court to charge him for Contempt of the Court. There has been no takers so far.

On August 17, 2010 the Supreme Court observed that the criminal justice system has almost crumbled since High Courts stay trials and then forget them. According to its information 10,541 criminal trials were stayed by Allahabad High Court. Of these, nine per cent had been pending for more than 20 years and 21 per cent for over a decade. This means stay of trial in 30 per cent of heinous offences continued for more than 10 years. Justice delayed is justice denied. 

Recently the Supreme Court passed strictures against the Allahabad High Court about the integrity of some of its justices, whose relatives practicing in the same court have become millionaires. The last Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, now head of the Human Rights Commission has been involved in many unsavory controversies during his tenure and now. The last is about accumulation of wealth beyond his means by his son-in-law. Politicians prefer to have tainted judges and civil servants in important post retirement posts and commissions of enquiries, since they can be easily manipulated. A classic example is of retired Police Chief of Haryana, who after being accused of molesting a minor girl and abetting in her suicide, decades ago, did well for himself and perhaps did all right by his political patrons.

India resembles the 11th century era in its history at the time of the invasions from the northwest, or during the last centuries of Moghul rule, when every job was for sale. Groups of Marathas, Jats, Rohillas, Sikhs and invaders roamed around the country looting and inflicting misery on the suffering masses of Hindustan. Now these gangs have formed political parties and loot and oppress common people. It is said that to become a police constable a bribe of Rupees 3 to 5 lakhs has to be paid. There are reports that the job of Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police is auctioned among the senior policemen.

Continued to: Incredible Scams-a-day India
 

28-Dec-2010
More by :  K. Gajendra Singh
 
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