Intro: Western democracy is on its trial, if it has not already proved a failure. May it not be reserved to India to evolve the true science of democracy by giving a visible demonstration of its fitness? Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy as they undoubtedly are today; nor bulk a true test of democracy.
—Mahatma Gandhi, Press Statement, 17-9-1934
While surveying during elections in 1999 especially the constituencies from where candidates with known criminal and corrupt antecedents get elected, voters responded that how does their background matter. Unless and until our work is getting done and we are getting financial support from our leader, he is best for us. This response shows the root cause of corruption in Indian politics as warned by Gandhiji. But what Kejriwal is preaching today to Delhi voters is like ‘cure more dangerous than disease’. His repeated remarks asking voters to accept bribe from Congress and BJP but vote for his party again show shallow understanding of the parliamentary democracy. The most unfortunate part is that such open call for corruption is given by a man who is claiming to be honest. Inability of Constitutional bodies like Election Commission to curb such gross violations of Model Code of Conduct is even more a grave concern. In this context there is a need to dissect what Kejriwal and his party are preaching in the name of crusade against corruption.
Thrice in this campaign Kejriwal reiterated that voters should accept money from BJP or Congress. This is the gross violation of the model code, which envisages that parties and candidates participating in the electoral process shall “avoid scrupulously all activities which are corrupt practices and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters…”.
Kejriwal is doing so because he perceives that systemic corruption is only due to political parties. It is true that fighting elections has become a costly affair and resultantly, root cause of corruption. But he is missing the point that it is the people who make systems and the corrupt mindset that makes the best of the systems corrupt. By calling people to accept bribe for voting is breeding corruption at its roots.
In our social psyche, one votes only if he/she gains something in financial terms. A sense of democratic duty of voting is completely diminished under the socialistic pattern where state is the only agency, responsible for distributive justice. Therefore, ideally imbibing this duty and ask to vote without fear or allurement of any kind should be the ideal line of correction. This can be done only by people who do not have direct stakes in electoral politics.
Like Congress claimed the sole legacy of freedom movement, AAP is claiming itself as the one and only inheritors of ‘India Against Corruption’ movement. It was a social movement, which created pressure and people from all ideologies participated in that crusade. Taking the contract of honesty at individual level and then turning a movement into political outfit is as hypocritical as Nehru-Gandhi family’s claim.
India needs more decentralised mechanisms of governance as suggested by Gandhiji and Deendayal Upadhyaya. Morally upright and spiritually inclined individuals should be its basis rather than a political party. That is the only way one can bring ‘swaraj’. Otherwise, hypocritical honesty will turn into another kind of corruption.