25-Nov-2005

False Dichotomy

T K Arun in ET, noting that it cannot be empowerment vs development, but both together for either to succeed. Along the way he has points out the short-sightedness of political parties as entities only meant for fighting and winning elections:
If [the Congress] thinks that investing big in health, education and social security, as promised by the Common Minimum Programme, will get it the votes it needs, it is sadly mistaken. Only when political parties actively lead, do sarkari measures deliver on the ground and people make a connection between leaderspeak and the actions of babus.

In other words, salvation lies in resurrection of the political party as an institution and redemption of political practice from the combination of rent-a-crowd and muscular influence-peddling it has been reduced to.Politics as patronage attracts opportunists and those on the make to the party.

Such people cannot perform a political party’s essential job of constantly mediating between the state and the people in a fashion that changes their lives for the better. That calls for people with a sense of public purpose, of commitment to society’s collective welfare. Such party workers can be attracted and retained only when the party stands for a goal over and above power and pelf.