Millennium Post

Parading same difference

Arvind Kejriwal believed that anti-corruption movement, through sting operations and helpline, will make aam admi bold enough to batter corruption. He talked less about development works and focused on anti-corruption measures. His election manifesto asserted on Jan Lokpal Bill and time-bound investigations and punishment in cases of corruptions. Manifesto barely touched upon development works.

Modi believed that large-scale corruption scuttled the financial resources required for development projects. Such huge corruption is the yield of the nexus between politicians and bureaucrats. He followed the concept of minimum government, which means less bureaucracy and that would deliver better governance for the development.

Modi’s election manifesto for Gujarat election in November 2012 focused on development works and did not touch on anti-corruption movement. His manifesto talked much on agricultural development, such as setting up more cold storage facilities and agro processing units, more power generation, more facilities for irrigation works, better judiciary facilities for women and more job opportunities for youth.

Unlike other politicians who believe in freebies to coax the middle and poor class electorates, Arvind Kejriwal believed that middle and poor class electorates are deceived of their minimum infrastructure needs. These needs are deliberately neglected due to pawning of the corrupt. Modi was, however, reticent on pronouncing corruption loudly. He also avoided the use of freebies as tools to coax the electorates.

The common perception in Gujarat is that Modi’s development works have shadowed the corruptions in the state. His success in development was the result of turning Gujarat as corruption-free state after the bureaucracy was tapered with the model of minimum government. The state recorded second highest growth in GDP during the tenure of Modi between 2005-2006 to 2011-2012. His governance lured foreign investors to invest in Gujarat. Despite being besieged by tense border situation, Gujarat emerged the second biggest foreign investment destination in 2011-2012 in the country.

Modi did not believe in freebies by giving free laptops, free water and free electricity to the farmers. He believed that little push and few resources from the Government would help entrepreneurs to achieve their desires. Like China, he believed in Government spending in infrastructure and enthuse private sector to invest, free from Government control. Where clearances are mandatory, he got them with minimum bureaucratic red tape.  He was liberal with foreign investors since they have cash to invest and supplement to the domestic investors.

Modi’s new concept of bureaucratic philosophy was that the local bodies should be empowered to solve their problems relating to water supply and electricity with the minimum intervention by the state government. These helped the local bodies to deliver without much delay and woo the entrepreneurs to flourish in Gujarat, with minimum intervention from the Government. He is known as mentor that facilitates and not one that constrains.

Paradoxically, however, even though Modi’s success in development depended much on turning Gujarat as corruption-free state, Gujarat BJP is not out of the corruption tangle when they are represented in Lok Sabha. Gujarat is bracketed by higher numbers of corrupt leaders, when they are represented in Lok Sabha. At the state level, Gujarat has only 57 corrupt leaders out of 182 MLAs. In contrast, it has 11 corrupted MPs out of 26 seats in Lok Sabha against whom criminal proceedings are pending, according to a survey by Association of Democratic Reforms. UP has the largest number of corrupt legislators in Lok Sabha with 31 MPs, followed by Maharashtra with 26 corrupt MPs and Bihar with 18 such representatives.

This big gap of corrupt leaders between the State and Central level reflects that Modi could have exerted his power to crush corruption in his own state. But at the Centre, his power to rein in corrupt MPs has failed. Therefore, to project his image as a challenger for the prime ministerial post, he has to get rid of these corrupt MPs at the Centre.

Arvind Kejriwal and his party are yet to prove their capability to fructify their election mandates for Delhi. Delhi has seen better development as compared to other states under his predecessor Sheila Dikshit. This could be the reason that AAP’s Delhi election manifesto was silent on economic development works.

But, in Central politics, anti-corruption movement alone cannot impart the same resounding impact on the electorate. The country is reeling under unabated unemployment situation. MGNREGA programme failed to prove the panacea to nip unemployment in the bud. Employment opportunities are generated through wide manufacturing activities and infrastructure developments.

CEOs were happy with AAP’s success to revolutionise political system to weed out corruptions. They hope this will be good for corporate body because it will make the system more transparent. More transparency will increase accountability and unleash better governance. These will help the corporate body to do business with lesser red tape. At present, the crucial economic problems are high inflation, alarming fiscal deficit and current account deficit.

Given the situation, AAP should bring out its economic model, which will give the country a congenial and less corrupt environment for investment.

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