Another tumultuous week has gone by; more bloodshed at the stock market, a building collapse in Delhi, a poor show thus far at the Asiad, another drawn Test match, ever-rising inflation. But what caught my attention was another tainted minister making a rather hushed exit from Delhi, only to be bestowed a hero’s welcome upon returning to his hometown.
The past few months have seen an unprecedented number of ministers forced to quit their cushioned seats and hand over their plump portfolios after they were caught red-handed squandering the ‘aam aadmi’s’ money for personal gain.
Suresh Kalmadi, Ashok Chavan, A Raja — perhaps, in the long run, these ministers would have been better off doing what they were elected to do and serving the nation instead of only themselves.
Kalmadi’s obnoxious attitude towards the Games left the whole world stunned. India, just like any other developing nation, is saddled with corruption. Earlier, the scams would surface and then be forgotten. Lately, the perpetrators have not been able to continue their reign; personally, I’m not sure how forcing these politicos to resign helps cover the losses to the exchequer?
To people like you and me — who work hard, pay our taxes and then watch as these ‘leaders’ pocket that money — their subsequent resignation offers no real comfort, and no long-term solution.
The post of chief minister of Maharashtra, for instance, has been reduced to a game of musical chairs. While every incoming minister is tom-tommed as ‘clean’ (as was Ashok Chavan), the progress of time proves otherwise.
Meanwhile, even a Union minister who has cost our government as much as Rs 1.7 lakh crore with his tossing about of 2G licences is treated like a hero by his party and has the full support of the DMK leadership.
Is it that simple? You win an election, land an important portfolio, do as you please and — worst come to the very worst — resign and go home to kick up your heels and relax.
How about pushing for a Bill that stipulates that any minister involved in a scam be liable to pay for the losses caused. And if he/she is unable to do so, that the political party they belong to be held liable for these sums — or face disqualification from forthcoming elections.
It’s far fetched, I know, but isn’t it time something was done to cleanse our political system? Surely a Bill that promised to act half as harshly would have political parties thinking twice before they took dubious candidates on board — or indeed repeatedly endorsed their misdeeds.
Of course, none of this is possible if we — parents, elders, youngsters, teens — do not vote, question, participate. Every generation has a fresh chance to shape its future leaders. What better time than now — when, even as I type this, another land-grabbing scam is making the headlines?
(Akshay Bansal is a blogger and entrepreneur)