The noise and dust has now settled, the elections are over and it is time for every citizen to sit back and reflect on what has just happened.
The Association for Democratic Reforms has analysed and published details of our new members of Parliament and guess what — we voted for almost half, 43 per cent to be precise, individuals with criminal records, out of which almost a third, 29 per cent — have serious criminal charges which include murder, rape, dacoity, etc.
By voting for such people we are not just legitimising them but we are encouraging political parties to continue fielding such corrupt criminal individuals, claiming they are “winnable”.
In reality no political party wins or loses elections, it is we, the people, who win, if we vote right and we, the people, who lose if we vote wrong.
Today, let alone MLAs or MPs, a corporator in Bengaluru whose official salary is less than Rs 10,000, spends between Rs 3 crore and Rs 5 crore for an election and the only reason is that they get access to huge public purses and they can, not just recover their “investment”, but also make huge profits.
People associate corruption with the direct bribes they pay to get their work done in government departments.
Not many of us take into account the loot of our hard earned money paid as taxes, public and natural resources. It’s not just income tax, every citizen pays tax even when they buy a soap or a match box. While politicians like to make us believe they are doing is a favour by giving us freebies, we have, in reality, not just paid for these, but paid for it in advance.
After 70 years after Independence, a majority of our citizens lacks basics like food, water, electricity, education and health care. We continue to remain a developing and not a developed country and the primary reasons for us not being able to reach our potential are corruption and bad politics.
In the initial few years after Independence we had some of the finest individuals, true statesmen in Parliament. Today politics is a bad word and has unfortunately become, like they say, ‘the last resort for scoundrels’. While we are an old nation, we are a very young democracy, we must take responsibility and elect representatives and not rulers. In Delhi the Aam Aadmi Party government has made massive strides in good governance by providing free water, electricity at the lowest tariff, free quality education and healthcare comparable to the private sector, doorstep delivery of government service, etc, in a short period of four years without increasing taxes.
One thing is clear that it can be done and the solution is surprisingly simple: Good Governance = Good Politics = Good People
(The writer is associated India Against Corruption Core Committee)