First published on: Oct 2018
In 6 months time, India will get ready for the 2019 General Elections. Political Parties will fight tooth and nail to claim the mandate of people. The discourses could turn real ugly, as we had seen in previous state elections. Grand Conspiracies will be uncovered, leaders will start a whirlwind tours to temples, caste/religion/class cards will be played, and the list goes on and on. What generally happens is that the leader put forwards an utopian vision, which majority of the people could relate to or aspire to be part of.
The question I have is how does the leader come up with this utopian vision. Did the leader listen to the people before arriving at this? I doubt so. If this were the case, then how will people, whose voices have long since been unheard of, be heard? Even an informed citizen cannot question how the leader has come up with the vision. In US, there are TV Debates, where people or representatives can question their Presidential candidates. Even though the validity/credibility of the debate is questionable, People can still see/hear where their leaders are coming from and whether their leaders can respond to tough questions.
India doesn’t have a mechanism yet to question the candidates contesting the election. The election campaigns are mostly monologues, with people being asked to cheer when the leader wants. If there were a mechanism to question the candidates, I would like the leaders to address below questions.
- Stand on Aadhar?
- Solution to Agrarian crises?
- Inclusive growth/Tackling inequality?
- Job creation/Plans to tackle the job loss due to Automation?
- Education/Health Care systems improvement plans
- Stand on FDIs?
- Addressing MSME issues
- River sharing issues between states
- Fuel, LPG prices
- Climate change – Promoting Green energy, reducing carbon foot print
- Plans & Steps to eradicate Manual Scavenging
- Addressing Caste issues & Reservation requests
- Institutional freedom
- Federalist structure
- Steps to curb Lynching
- Freedom of expression
- Proposal to handle J&K issues. And how to deal with neighbors, China, & US?
- Strengthening of RTI/Transparency in decision-making?
- Electoral reforms
- Digital literacy & Privacy?
- How do you curb corruption?
- Appointment of Lokpal
- What actions would be taken to tackle NPAs?
This list came from my observations on Indian politics in the past 5 years. I want a leader, who can address these questions in a clear manner. Even if the leader doesn’t have an answer to these questions, I expect the leader to be honest & accept that the he/she doesn’t have an answer at that point and come back with an answer in one or two weeks, after working with relevant personnel. And I wish we can hold the leader accountable to his/her promises.
I know this is a day-dream, yet dreams of today are realities of tomorrow. I wish this becomes a reality soon.
Update on 18th April
I derided an utopian vision in my article, but my favorite author Arundathi Roy said in an interview that “What Utopia you choose matters”. So I am okay to believe in an Utopia that can keep the country together and not rip it apart.
Congress’s Manifesto is an Utopian vision that I have chosen for this election.
PS : To write, thinking my endorsement matters might seem narcissistic, so be it.