Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kerala Assembly Elections - Post Polling

Polling happened peacefully on april 13th. the polling percentage is somewhere around 75%. It was around 72.4%  in 2006. Both fronts are confident that people verdict will be in their favor. It's a long 1 month wait this time for the results to get announced. Analysis by both fronts indicate they will comfortably.

This election saw both fronts struggling with lack of genuine ideologies and political agenda. the political scenario is so volatile that no ideology remains constant. unprecedented crossovers which became "legal" with Abdullakutti's eloping with congress during last parliament elections is becoming more and more acceptable. Any disappointed leader with a community base (Please read it with stress, any disappointed leader with a community base) is a star in the other camp. somehow our political leaders think, they are the religious representatives too (and of course they proclaim in every other breath that they are secular leaders). I have to admit that CPM leadership is by and large immune to this community pressure (though they decide candidates based on such considerations).

with no socio-economic development, no people empowerment, no social betterment to talk about, Both fronts comfortably pushed the campaign to more important topics - Sexual Harassment, corruption during last 2 decades, Chief Minister's son's foreign travel, corruption at center. Surprisingly, treatment towards madani never figured anywhere. Looks like both fronts lost their interest in PDP vote bank..(Or they are sure that those votes anyway will get consolidated by SDPI??).

This campaign revealed another truth. Keralites don't have a leader to look upto. V S leads the popularity index. but what was his election propaganda as Chief Minister?? He comfortably focused on 2001 govt.s mistakes (for which he was brought to power in 2006) and some corruption and harassment issues,which are lost either in controversies or in legal battles. Not a single vice which he fought against as opposition leader got corrected in his regime. Instead he kept on unearthing issues. An Administrator should have focused on fixing issues rather than unearthing them. But his biggest strength is he is the only leader poor man in this state can look forward to. Rest all leaders have wicked wrested business interests!!! But that alone isn't a quality to be called a leader. In all other departments, he miserably failed. he did not exhibit trust in his fellow cabinet members. so instead of being the one who leads the way, he become the one who keep one pointing out mistakes..In short, very very disappointing. All other leaders in ruling coalition have more negatives than positives except for G Sudhakaran and Jose Thettayil (I am still not sure about his business links). G Sudhakaran was the most sincere minister in this government. But he has a tongue that will win him more enemies than friends. Same tongue neutralized all his good work..

Opposition should be skipped ideally. It's the most rotted place and stinks terrible. OOmmen Chandy, the opposition leader is a very popular person in his constituency. However outside a small hamlet called puthupally, he doesn't have universal recognition in kerala. Many people think he represents only the interests of southern travancore christian belt and business men in kerala. He is a major factor for rising communal drift in kerala. Inside Party, he is known for as a vengeance filled person. His christianity has helped him win confidence of high command in delhi (all congress men from kerala who has close ties with high command coincidentally happen to be christians..AK Antony, K V Thomas, OOmmen Chandy, Hibi Eden ..what a coincidence...BJP folks might be happy reading this :-) .. for them, this is no sign that I am swaying your side..hehe ). Ramesh Chennithala, with his fluency in hindi, managed to win high command's confidence too. He captialized on Karunakaran's inability to speak in Hindi, joined as his aide and then ousted him once he gained his foot inside. Ramesh will be remembered in political history as the most dishonest disciple.

Rest of the leaders in UDF who contested in this elections don't deserve any space. they are all rich men with business interests, who are using politics as the best networking tool for promoting their businesses and interests at the expenses of state. Look at the travel chart of a central minister..he would have gone to ME umpteen times. what diplomatic relationship turnarounds happened in last 2 years?? absolutely nothing except for few humanitarian gestures towards convicted. how do you justify those trips?? there is absolutely no accountability in public expenditure.(whether it's buidling a bridge or road or foreign trip)  this is the biggest curse of this country. we'll almost faint if we ask for details of american trips conducted by our state ministers in last decade to US alone. what's the reason and what's the outcome???? If we take a casual look at the wealth declaration by candidates in this elections, one thing is as obvious as day light. All regional/communal parties have fielded only rich men as candidates. for e.g. almost all candidates from IUML have more than 10 million in wealth. and they represent?? Muslims from Malappuram and kozhikode..and their plight?? Think of it.
Almost all Kerala Congress Leaders also have comparable wealth. they mostly represent farmers (landless farmers to be precise) from Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. Their plight?? better than before due to higher prices for cash crops.

So elections are dominated by rich men, business men and others with tons of self interests. it's high time, political parties in kerala think of quality of candidates (not just their wealth and connections in delhi). People of kerala, it's high time we wake up and demand change. If Anna Hasare could bring UNION GOVT to heals, why can't we????? again, Think about it

Sudheer M

Friday, April 01, 2011

Kerala Assembly Elections -- Part4 - Campaign

Final list of candidates who are deseperate to serve people is finalized. Candidates are running from pillar to post in bright sunny,extremely warm and dusty days to ensure they reach every nook and corner of their constituency and meet as many voters as possible. Early days the focus was on meeting individual voters. These days it has changed a bit. There are some people called "Affluent Citizens" who seem to have the power to influence a huge vote bank. It could be  any one or all of the following : the rich man of the town, the social worker, the eminent personality, the priest, the community leader, fund raiser, business men or even Goonda Leader of the area. These distinguished people seem to have direct influence on their followers and these candidates after sun set will be busy wooing these power centers. Early days I never believed in such super powers. But off late with the emphasis, respect and fear candidates have for them, I feel their powers are genuine. Also, almost all candidates whom I know want to avoid a segment of voters completely - Educated Middle Class families. One of the candidate told me in person, they are not worth our time. This class constitute the so called Swing Factor. They cannot be influenced by lip service, they listen to their community leaders but hardly obey their orders and will most likely form an opinion by themselves based on candidate's personality, burning locale issues, campaign topics etc etc. This class takes Rational Decisions and might vote across party boundaries. Also educated middle class families mostly live away from their permenant address and most likely will not travel back home to cast the vote (Unless, Unless, Unless they are pro communist).
Candidates try to woo voters in bulk.. first in terms of communal divide, second in terms of economic divide. there is huge focus at so called colonies where BPL and just above BPL families live. Almost all the sops announced in election manifesto is directly aiming these 2 segments.
Both Fronts says Development and Social welfare are their KEY topics. but take a look what makes news these days

Helicopter rides, C M's double face, DM's double face, Palmoil case, Lavlin case, P sasi, P K Kunjalikutty, Ice cream case, In party fight in Communist Party, who will be the CM if congress come to power, Corruption allegation against Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, Idamalayar Case, R Balakrishna Pillai, sex offenses in kerala and who are the culprits behind it, VIP in kiliroor case, Sindhu Joy and her so far clandestine passion for religion and congress, Sobhana George and her 180 degree turns, who is the father of smart city, corruption by CM 's son, Man handling by CPM MLA, Man handling by CPI Minister, Land encroachments in Munnar and everywhere, are actions against such crimes fair or not, Corruption by Central Govt, Rahul Gandhi and his handpicked candidates, Marxist Party's view of sexual harassment by Prakash Karat, Disrespect towards K karunakaran's Soul by denying Assembly seat for his followers nominated by his daugher and son (that's the best logic i heard in recent times), On air drama by dejected "Service Aspirants"

Did anyone of you notice any development, progressiveness, social welfare in any of the key election topics above mentioned? if you haven't, you won't take any time to realize the hypocracy of the 2 fronts. I'm afraid, there is a so called "Syndicate" as often referred by some prominent leaders. This syndicate has representatives from all parties and other stake holders. they take terms in assuming offices and no matter who rules, this syndicate will control all wealth and distribute it fairly among stake holders. Rest everything is drama and entertainment for people.

Some of the key issues that should have stayed on top of everything should have been
Economic growth of state, Agricultural challenges, solutions and food safety, social security and welfare for all, Health for all, Industrial policy for state, how to gather wind in IT boom, Education and employment of youth, Collapse of law and order in state, Controlling and elminating various mafias running the state including sand, black money, real estate, sex, financial crimes and corruption, corruption in politics, civil service, police and judiciary and how to change it, inflation, political instability in ME, it's repecursions in kerala, ever increasing commodity prices, infrastructure development in kerala, urban development in cities, rural development in villages, power security and it's consequences, water management, dwindling forests and greencover, natural disasters and after effect management, communal harmony, terrorist roots in kerala, comprehensive development vision, transportation agonies in the state, safety for life and property in state, self sustainable groups among low income category, value added produces from natural resources, income for less previleged through applied technology based on market demands and the list can tend to infinity.

I wonder why no one, including the younger candidates who claim to be having new vision about development, is interested about these topics. Instead, we focus extremely transient, short cited, hollow issues just to create an eyewash. Visual Media is also responsible for this in a big way. they will never ever give neither attention nor air time to a leader who is genuine, subtle, gentle and politically right always. instead they look for "sensations" and "yellow valued" news.

So far in this campaign, there is no single political theme that's presented across the state. it's highly localized campaign so far catering to the pressure groups, community requests and playing it safe kind of strategizing.

I am not sure how a quality improvement program can be applied to politics. But I really feel in this era of globalization, it's very very critical for all of us to remain competitive. we are not safe within our borders. You can notice globalization creeping into our houses in various forms whether its the equipments, consumables, food habits, brands or at least in some cases even to thinking. we need a government that really understand the complexities of international politics, how to safe guard interests (and that's not just about being anti american and anti west), how to mobilize the economy of the country to face the challenges globalization put forth. how to mobilize its people to reap advantage of the umpteen opportunities globalization gifts us. for that we need educated, tech savvy visionary leaders (and don't read it as rich men with niche tastes..someone said mamootty is very forward thinking, the reason stated, he has all latest accessories ..(No intentions to state Mammootty is non progressive but want to highlight that logic is malicious) ) who posses higher standards for self integrity, who are highly sensible, sensitive and transparent. such leaders are disappearing from our political horizon..i can think of only a handful of names and that unfortunately doesn't have any young men (leaving apart couple of CPM MLA s. but you never know what happens to them. the moment their sense of judgement conflict with that of their party, they move to oblivion.) This is a highly disturbing trend. This has something do with current system of "making leaders".

It's no secret that Full time politicians and the system of full time politics is fueling corruption,favoritism and communal divide. Young men who jump into politics on idealogical frenzy soon realize that could easily be a livelihood too. Then it becomes a profession where all income go unaccounted. Most of the men get an opportunity (if at all) to bear office after couple of decades of sweating (how they sweat is a very creative topic that can be a blog by itself), hardships and economic suffering. their value system would have eroded long ago and then it's all about making hay while sun shines. Parties should (Infact marxist party is actually promoting it significantly) be reciprocative to part time politics too. If there is a part time politics machinary in place, people who are working (that's the most common case) and attach to idealogies (and that's not UNIONS!!!, again another topic to write) while they focus at work, family upbringing and financial saftety. at some juncture, few of them can go to people asking for a term to represent them, voice the concerns and fight for them. if this practice get more acceptance, then people who hold higher degree of values can easily transform to leaders without scarificing their youth for no noble cause. it will also force lot of these self employed political entrepreneurs to look for other avenues for their daily bread.  It's high time some rules come into play too.
Govt shouldn't be a monopoly of few in left and right fronts. may be after 2 terms as ministers and 4 terms as representatives, they should take forced retirement from parliamentary politics for next 2 consecutive terms. they can continue with activism. This is also serve another fundamental purpose of democracy. Opportunity for all !!!. That will also stop leaders creating lobbyist loyalist factions for personal gains.

so why not this idea of part time politics? How about a "retrogressing" clause??
To become a candidate, you should worked for 10 years in any capacity ??(be it an agricultural worker to president of a corporate). Politics as an employment option should be discouraged.

I think this time I should expect some beating. I request people who doesn't like the ideas to be harsh on me and suggest much better alternatives..I will join you

Sudheer M