Saturday, May 10, 2014

Irony In Indian Politics: Election 2014- Blame Game.

          What is governance and how to measure it accurately? There is no universally accepted  concept or formula.   Development agencies, international organizations and academic institutions define governance in different ways.
          UNDP defines governance " It is a system of values, policies and institutions by which a society manages its economic, political and social affairs through interactions within and among state, civil society and private sector ".
          The Governance  is the way a society organises itself  to make and implement decisions- achieving mutual understanding, agreement, and  action. It comprises the mechanisms and processes for the citizens and groups  to articulate their interests, mediate their differences, and exercise their legal right and obligations.
          The governance is the rules, institutions and practices that set limits and provide incentives  for individuals and organisations and firms. Governance  including its social, political, and economic dimensions, operates at every level of human enterprise, be it a household, village, municipality, nation, region or globe.
          The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) are produced by a project. This project has three partners: one, Revenue Watch and Brookings Institution; two, World Bank (WB) Development Research Group; three, WB Institute.
          WGI research project reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 215 economies over the period 1996-2012, six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption.
          WGI are available till 2012. UPA-2 government formed in 2009. A comparative study of all six dimensions of 2009 and 2012 reveals some facts which match with the prevailing situations and ground realities. This verifies the validity of indicators.
          The percentile ranking of the India on voice and accountability has come down from 60.19 (2009) to 58.29 (2012). Position slided down by just by 1.9 in said period. Change is just noticeable. Political stability, absence of violence/ terrorism indicator improved from 10.90 (2009) to 11.85 (2012).  During this period political situation of the country was stable and it didn't witness any violence.
          Governance effectiveness slided from 55.19 (2009) to 47.37 (2012). This down fall is alarming. This fact is felt by citizens. This brought bad name to UPA-2. It is costing dearly to ruling party Congress at center.
          Likewise, indicator regulatory quality falls from 42.98 (2009) to33.97 (2012) and rule of law decreases from 54.98(2009) to 52.61 (2012).  And indicator control of corruption falls from 38.76(2009) to 34.93 (2012). A minute study tells that only one indicator increased and five decreased.
          Three WGI governance effectiveness, regulatory quality and control of corruption fell fast. Economic slowdown and gradual falling of GDP proves and are in tune with the fall of first two inidcators. Revelations of different scams in a series in said period justify the fall of control of corruption indicator.  
          Governance deficit of UPA-2 created a strong anti-incumbency atmosphere for ruling party- Congress. This factor alone crippled the prospect for congress in ongoing election 2014.
          Ruling party Congress is contesting election under the implied leadership of its vice-precedent Rahul Gandhi(RG). He is working hard to position himself at the helm of the party since last ten years.
          He did not join government and is not part of it. No news appeared about his interventions in government working. He mainly confined himself to party organisational work. No such serious and proven blame came into light by oppositions too. Plainly speaking, he is not responsible for governance deficit directly or indirectly.
          Blame of running government from behind the curtian is on his mother who is party president and Chairperson of National Development Council (NDC).  Recently a book by Sanjaya Baru who was media advisor in UPA-1 to Manmohan Singh proves this.  His book ' The Accidental Prime Minister(PM): The making and unmaking of Manmohan Singh' says that Manmohan Singh was a cipher, especially in UPA-2.
          Book further describes that the halo that PM built around himself with his tough stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008 disappeared in UPA-2 when the congress party's victory with 206 seats shifted to Dynasty's priorities that is from government to projection of dynastic succession.
          Baru’s book takes the story forward and effectively paints Sonia Gandhi as almost directly controlling the PMO. The point it makes is the opposite of what was till recently received wisdom: the duality of power centres in UPA, one around the PM and his government, and another around Sonia Gandhi. Baru disabuses us of this notion by claiming that actually there was one power centre – and that power was not the PM.
          Files were being routinely shared by Sonia Gandhi through the Pulok Chatterjee route – making a mockery of the cabinet system and the oath of secrecy administered to the PM. How can someone not in government be privy to highly confidential files? Was the country’s interest compromised in any way by this illegitimate information sharing? This is what Baru’s book says: “Pulok, who was inducted into the Manmohan Singh PMO at the behest of Sonia Gandhi, had regular, almost daily, meetings with Sonia at which he was said to brief her on the key policy issues of the day and seek her instructions on important files to be cleared by the PM.”
         RG led Congress-election-campaign couldn't pick and galavonise to expected level. While Modi-led Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP) campaign kept up-track continuously. Among many reasons of failure of UPA- 2, the most effective and strong one is governance deficit.
          For non-performance in election campaign process, the natural blame is on RG for which he is not responsible. Its responsibilities lies on the leaders who led the UPA-2 directly or indirectly, from inside or outside. But irony is that RG has to take it,as situation depicts, being head of the campaign team.
          The poll result will be out on May,16. The general perceptions are gloomy for Congress. Modi led BJP has better prospect as many indictors say. Again for less number of MPs and non-performance of Congress who is to blame. The answer is simple-RG. But in reality and actually, he is not. Since time is not in his favour. Hence, situational blame goes again to his credit.
          Ironically, RG is paying, for what, he is not responsible at different stages of election process of 2014. Anti-incumbency due to mis-governance is main cause of failure. In the development of this cause, RG played no role as obvious. But it's bad result is credited to his account. And those who are real culprit are away from even discussion of blame game. This is the true face of our politics.
Heera Lal (Views are personal and based on different sources)