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September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature
A bizarre political idea
Sashi Reddi
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
In a recent survey it was reported that while India has made great progress in business and science, the one area that people continue to be disillusioned about is our political system. Many of our MPs and MLAs are lodged in jail but somehow continue to govern us and we are helpless bystanders in this nightmare.

The flip side to this depressing situation is one that always inspires awe in me. In many of our villages and towns, there are numerous energetic, patriotic, and dedicated people of all ages who are contributing their time and experience to making the lives of others better. This includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, college students, housewives, and many others. They expect no gratitude and work solely for the benefit and upliftment of our fellow countrymen.

What would India be like if these zealous and patriotic people were to be in the government? What would it take to make that happen? Here is my simple (and bizarre) plan to make that happen:

* Funding: Given that money is required for an aspiring and dedicated person to enter politics, and many NRIs as well as other Indian businessmen have lots of money, a fund is formed with say Rs. 2,000 crores.

* Selection: Form a committee of people with a proven commitment to improving the political situation in India. People like Narayana Murthy and Abdul Kalam are obvious choices. This committee decides which candidates it will endorse and fund for an election. This diverse group of people in the selection committee will not be subject to normal political pressures and can make a clear decision on which people may be good for the country.

* Limited scope: There is no compulsion to fund someone in every constituency—wherever someone appropriate exists, he or she can be funded. The objective is not to form a political party—just ensure that deserving candidates get the funding and support required to succeed. This also means that the candidates can belong to different or even opposing parties. Their political leanings are not as important as their commitment to provide clean government with the people’s interest in mind.

* Publicity: A free newspaper could be launched that articulates the committee’s decisions and also provides a forum for the selected candidates to express their views. Similarly, TV debates/discussions could be funded so that all candidates can come forward to discuss their positions and what they plan to do.

In my humble opinion, the political situation is not getting better with years. It remains a corrupt system with many of the “leaders” having no interest in the betterment of India. Only a radical idea such as this will provide the impetus to change so that India can realize the dreams it was founded on.

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