New age politics
In India and globally, politics has become retrograde and market is becoming progressive
The speed of the activities of the market forces accelerates the speed of the transformative process of the society in geometric proportion. The development of science and technology and more specifically communication and information technology warrant a totally different political, governance, and administrative eco-system to get the best out of all. To create such an eco-system, politics, governance, and administration need high-calibre leaders with creative ability. It is no doubt polity, governance and administration have been reoriented to cater to the needs of the market forces yet they could not reorient themselves to face the challenges of the society as the expectations of the society from the governing class are increasing unfathomably. As we are in a democratic system of governance, the parties which are in power finding it difficult to satisfy the people through their performance in government. As a result, resentment against the establishment is increasing year by year. Citizens no longer have the patience to wait for results through the long-term initiatives of the government. They expect instant results and responses to their problems. People cannot be satisfied by the tall promises and lengthy speeches of the political and governance leaders. Unless they get tangible material goods for their well being, people will not support the government.
The ruling regimes find it difficult to face the general elections with a hope of winning the election to continue in power. The rampant corruption in public life has given sense to the person that the political class has lost its moral values and they cannot teach any more ethical values to the society and instead the political class has to help the public that violates established rules and norms in public life. Slowly political culture moves from adherence to norms, rules, and values to violation of rules, norms and values. As a result, we could not expect any newness or innovation in politics. Best brains are drawn towards the market and the rejected join in politics and through which they reach the corridors of power. Rejected in schools and colleges, have joined in politics and adopted all methods and strategies to mobilise people for politics. As a result, politics becomes retrograde and market is becoming progressive. It is not only in India, it is a global scenario.
What is the way out to move from this syndrome in politics, governance, and administration? In the context of party politics, is there any way out to evolve a new one an alternative to party politics?
Kizhakkambalam, a Grama Panchayat in Ernakulam District has paved a way for evolving a new age politics which is called people politics for development. In the 2015 local body election, the independent candidates sponsored by a company functioning in the village through the trust created for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have driven out the political parties from that village by defeating the candidates of the political parties. The trust called "20-20" promised people that the candidates sponsored by the trust will perform their duties and responsibilities without touching a single rupee in the public coffer. The trust would enable the panchayats to provide needed funds under CSR to meet the needs of the people and more particularly the poorest segment of the society. The promises are attractive and it is lengthy. Further, the trust has assured the public that if the representatives elected by the people sponsored by the trust engage in corrupt practices, they will be removed from power by using the resignation letter got at the time of election. The only requirement to perform the above task is getting two third members signature and submits it to the trust.
Out of 19 candidates contested in the Local Body election in 2015, 17 candidates won the election and gave a shock to the political parties. The panchayat has been captured by the trust through the independent candidates. Subsequently, the Kudumbashree organisations (Women Self- Help Organisation) have also been captured in the same way. How people lost hope in the political parties and repose confidence and faith in the trust created by a company is a major question. While interacting with the panchayat functionaries and the public in the village, it is inferred that people are fed up with the nature of politics perpetuated by the political parties. People have come to a conclusion that the political parties are capable of doing party politics and not achieving development as the parties promise and the expectations of the people. People feel that excepting political engagement they could not gain material advantage out of the party politics. Whereas the trust creates hope in every household that all their felt needs will be met with the CSR funds coming from the industry. Since the company has got credibility, people have reposed confidence in the trust created by the company. Hence, people moved out from the political parties and moved closer to the trust to realise their dreams and expectation.
Within two years, the panchayats have delivered services to the public with the financial support of both government and the trust. Every poorest family is getting an independent house worth about more than eleven lakhs of rupees. Poor are availing all medical facilities in the best hospitals by using the resources of the trust. All the families are holding cards to get their daily needs in the supermarket run by the trust at a subsidised rate. Protected drinking water supply is ensured to all the poor families in the village.
Evolving a model children's care centre for the poor in the village is in the process. All needed facilities to the public school are being provided to enable them to offer quality education in the public school. Bus facilities have been provided to the poor families living in the remote villages to send their children to school without much difficulty. All the abandoned lands owned by the poor have been reclaimed and enabled the poor to cultivate the lands by supplying imported agriculture machinery. All the water bodies have been cleaned and desilted and all the canals have been rejuvenated. Totally the people more particularly the poor are mobilised for development activities. People have started seeing the implications of the new political arrangement initiated by the trust. It is interesting to note that the representatives of the people contested in the election as independent but they are drawn from the political parties. They are not new in politics. When they are asked to comment on the new development, they made it clear that ideological discourses have not created impact in their families. It is only development discourse and initiatives have brought changes in their life and their livelihood. It is not party politics but it is politics of development and ultimately it is people's politics which is called new age politics delivers goods and services to the people.
(Views are strictly personal)