Fix politics before it hurts democracy
As a financial journalist, covering politics and parliamentary debate is sometimes part of my job. What I witnessed on Tuesday in parliament — wads of cash being flashed around inside the lowerhouse– is something I had never bargained for.
The civil-nuclear deal with the United States will go through, and some reforms may be pushed by the government with the help of
its new allies. But politics will never be the same again, tainted by allegations of bribery and a vulgur display of money power.
Shortly after his government won a convincing victory in parliament, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the victory sent a message to the world that “India’s head and heart was sound and India is prepared to take its rightful place in the comity of nations.”
India has attracted global attention due to its strong economic growth and aspires to be a global power. But now more than ever, it needs to fix its politics and governance so that these two key elements do not derail its ambitions.
All political parties will need to seriously think about the events of the past few days and work out mechanisms to prevent it from happening again.
Global best practices need to be imbibed to help politics and governance catch up with the demands of a globalising economy. If it does not happen soon, then ordinary Indians’ cynicism and disillusionment with their politicians will become irrecoverable.
Too much is at stake.