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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Govt not a charity shop, says President Pranab; condemns hypocrisy in public life

IANS  New Delhi, January 25, 2014
First Published: 19:17 IST(25/1/2014) | Last Updated: 20:12 IST(25/1/2014)

President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said that rise of hypocrisy in public life was dangerous and noted that government was "not a charity shop".

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In his address on the eve of Republic Day, the president said elections do not give any person license to flirt with illusions.

"Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power," the president said.

Analysts said that the president's remarks that government was not a charity shop was directed at tendency among political parties to promise freebies and electoral doles to win elections.

Mukherjee also said that corruption was a cancer and noted that fault lines in democracy were handiwork of those who had made power a gateway to greed.

"Some cynics may scoff at our commitment to democracy but our democracy has never been betrayed by the people; its fault-lines, where they exist, are the handiwork of those who have made power a gateway to greed," he said.

He said people feel angry, "and rightly so", when they see democratic institutions being weakened by complacency and incompetence.

"If we hear sometimes an anthem of despair from the street, it is because people feel that a sacred trust is being violated," he said.

"Corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy, and weakens the foundations of our state. If Indians are enraged, it is because they are witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments," he added.

The Aam Aadmi Paty had made promises concerning free supply of water and reduction of power tariff - both considered economically unfeasible - in the national capital in the run-up to elections last month. Many other parties have made similar promises in the past and were apparently planning to do so in run-up to the Lok Sabha polls this year.

The analysts also said that the president's reference to "populist anarchy" was also apparently aimed at the AAP which staged a night-long demonstration, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet, in the capital earlier this week defying prohibitory orders on assembly of people.

The opposition parties had accused the AAP government of creating an "anarchic situation" in the capital. In response, Kejriwal had declared he was an "anarchist" and had no hesitation to promote "disorder" in pursuit of his political cause.

The president said that aspirational young Indians will not forgive a betrayal of their future and those in office must eliminate the trust deficit.

"This rage will abate only when governments deliver what they were elected to deliver:  social and economic progress, not at a snail's pace, but with the speed of a racehorse. The aspirational young Indian will not forgive a betrayal of her future. Those in office must eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people. Those in politics should understand that every election comes with a warning sign: perform, or perish," the president said.


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