The Cause Of The Lost

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Jul 2017 11:27:25

ISSUES & NON-ISSUES

By  Vijay phanshikar

Apologies to all these leaders for saying so, but it is necessary to remind them that it is better that they remain free from the trappings of the high offices they seek. For, free from those, they would be able to serve the cause of the oppressed and the marginalised better. For, having failed to achieve comprehensive social and economic justice in the past sixty years of their own rule, they now need an arena free from all the encumbrances of power.

“My ideological fight will continue. My fight for secularism, the oppressed, and the marginalised continues. ...”- Meira Kumar, Opposition  candidate for presidency

THE assertive statement by Mrs. Meira Kumar that she would continue to fight for the oppressed and the marginalised constituents of the society, is typical, to say the least. For, as the statement may imply, her intended service to the marginalised segments of the society depended, as if, on her election as President. Yet, even as she lost the election by an unprecedented margin, she decided that her fight would continue unabated, no matter even if she lost.

Right from the word ‘go’ when the presidential elections were announced, the Opposition parties went into an ideological overdrive, something that looked so insipid, so out of place, and so artificial. Even as Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi sent his representatives to discuss the choice of the presidential candidate, the Opposition parties tried to engage the delegation in non-issues. As a result, the Prime Minister played his cards differently and chose Mr. Ram Nath Kovind as the candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In one swift stroke, thus, the Prime Minister took the reins of the national agenda in his hands. Even though they fielded Mrs. Meira Kumar as the consensus candidate, the Opposition parties looked like the followers of the Modi agenda and not writers of something independent, something original. And their discomfiture became all the more evident when they chose Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi as their consensus candidate for the position of Vice President.

There is no doubt that both, Mrs. Meira Kumar and Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi are persons with their own merits. Yet, the manner in which the Opposition parties approached the selection made them look like a collection of people with no clear idea what they wished to achieve. They looked like a bunch of people with confused ideologies and confusing political goals.

But then, such has been the story of most parties that now constitute Opposition. Such has been the story of these parties when some of them were in the Government. Every time a political event was round the corner, they often tried to clad it in some ideological verbosity and create an impression that whatever they were doing belonged to a higher thought that the parties on the other side of the divide could never understand, let alone implement.

Mrs. Meira Kumar’s statement that her ideological fight would continue, comes under a similar category -- of overstating an ideological point where there is none.
The fight for the oppressed and the marginalised is a national need and imperative -- beyond political and ideological divide. Every political organisation realises it and states it in its own manner and follows in its own method. This, however, underscores a sad national reality -- that despite passage of seventy years since Independence, India has not been able to erase social and economic disequilibrium and that special efforts are needed to establish the realm of comprehensive justice for the oppressed and the marginalised.

This brings us to another reality -- that those who dominated the governmental scene for more than sixty years since Independence have not been able to erase the categories of oppressed and marginalised people by helping them emerge from those conditions. This massive failure is the saddest national reality of today. Yet, in the most obstinate manner, today’s Opposition parties (many of whom were in the Government until yesterday) have tried to make a virtue out of that reality -- “We will continue to fight for the oppressed and the marginalised.”

The simple question that needs to be posed to all of them is: “If you were in power for the best part of 70 years since Independence, what did you do to erase the undesirable categories of the oppressed and the marginalised? Why didn’t you initiate the right action? Did you insist upon keeping those categories intact so that you could derive political benefit from those?

When intentions are only political, the result is what we saw in the presidential election -- a massive, unprecedented defeat of the best candidate the Opposition had in the form of Mrs. Meira Kumar. That was also the reason why there were so many fissures in the Opposition ranks right from the word ‘go’. That was also why leaders like Mr. Nitish Kumar developed their personal agendas by abandoning the collective goals as Opposition parties.

But then, this has been always the story of all these parties. On countless occasions, they tried to form a Third Front, which some observers described as ‘Third Affront’. Just a few months ago, these parties also tried to form what they described as ‘Mahagathbandhan’ -- Grand Alliance. But that political contraption did not last even overnight. It might have won a couple of elections for the parties all right, but their unity developed cracks even as it was being formed. All these resulted in the presidential elections, as the nation now knows that a good number of Opposition electors indulged in cross-voting. So much for the ‘fight for the oppressed and the marginalised’, as insisted upon by Mrs. Meira Kumar upon her own defeat.

Apologies to all these leaders for saying so, but it is necessary to remind them that it is better that they remain free from the trappings of the high offices they seek. For, free from those, they would be able to serve the cause of the oppressed and the marginalised better. For, having failed to achieve comprehensive social and economic justice in the past sixty years of their own rule, they now need an arena free from all the encumbrances of power. In free and fresh air without the suffocation of corridors of power, they would be able to serve their stated cause better.

Of course, democracy is such a leveller! It has its own way to show the door to those who only talk and do nothing. The election of Mr. Ram Nath Kovind as President, thus, has a clear message to all the people indulging in political tall talk: Now get engaged in real work, out in the midst of public, and not in haloed chambers.