Thursday, February 19, 2009

We Must Engage with the Political Class to Remain Relevant

It is a common belief that 'Educated Civil Society' no longer matters to politicians and policy makers.

Outpouring of public anger post 26/11 in the form of rallies, marches and candle light vigils highlighted the frustration and helplessness of educated middle class. Unfortunately such protests are neither sustainable nor do they provide long term solutions to problems and issues facing our nation.

Failure of governance and lack of development are the two most important issues which our elected representatives and bureaucrats need to focus on. But if people who understand and are concerned about these issues do not engage with the political class, they will continue with the vote bank politics of caste, religion, favours and appeasement.

We have chosen parliamentary democracy system of government and are proud of being the largest democracy. Over past 60 years we have evolved as a robust democracy, which many nations of the world can only hope for. We just need to peep into our neighbourhood to realize as to how fortunate we are to have enjoyed a credible and popular democracy from our birth as an independent nation, except for a brief period of emergency during 1970s.

Democracies depend upon citizen’s participation, to make an informed and collective choice every few years to choose their leaders and the governments which they hope and believe will serve them with honesty and sincerity.

An educated and well informed citizen making the right choice is the basic tenet of a robust democracy. Unfortunately, given the much maligned image of our political class, educated civil society has chosen to stay away from exercising this fundamental right. While we criticize them, we don’t want to be even remotely engaged with the politics or political leaders.

This is the reason why political class ignores the educated civil society and focuses on rural, urban poor and marginalized sections of the society. Politicians entice these sections with favours, appeasement, money and muscle power. They become the vote banks, based on caste, religion, region and language.

This has resulted in a chicken & egg situation. Since we don’t like the current day politicians, we do not engage in the political process. But since we don’t engage in the political process we don’t get politicians of our choice. This vicious circle needs to be broken.

It is obvious that politicians would care only for those who vote for them. Disengaging has only done us harm by producing criminals and thugs as politicians. Time has come for us to engage with political class and make our VOTE count.

Let’s start not just engaging but aligning. If we align with a party or a candidate and assure them of our vote, they will be happy and willing to look into our concerns and issues.

We often hear that educated people are so few that their vote won’t matter. This is a myth.

Post delimitation, 2009 Lok Sabha will have 120 urban constituencies (out of a total of 543), which decide their winner by a margin of just few thousand votes. So a determined and informed educated middle class, voting as a block based on issues of governance and development, will become the swing vote bank, which will be courted by every party. So lets not underestimate the power of SWING VOTE of determined educated civil society.

More on SWING VOTE in the Next Article.


  1. Hello,
    Someone said, "How fortunate the governments are! The people they rule do not think!"
    I guess it is time to think and act.


  2. Hey RK,
    Good to see your post after a long time... This is regarding your other post "My VOTE goes for BJP/NDA", I thought you are standing for election, it sounds as if you are not in the race. Is that true? I would love to see you in parliament, hope you keep your Lead India promise!

  3. Dear Manjunath,
    Would love to STAND and ENTER Parliament but need to work hard to ensure WINABILITY. Unfortunately ToI readers are still a small number to win an MP constituency. I will enter politics for sure...soon..:)

  4. Well, I appreciate and respect your pragmatism.... I can only hope that it won't be too late when you step in...

  5. RK ji,

    Right moves at right time and with right people around results in definite success. You will need a mandate. The first resistance will come from political class. There are options. We can better control govt by staying out side. Anna Hajare can be sighed as very effective example. Sonia gandhi, balasaheb thakre, kashiram are some other examples. Some times I feel that all such politically ambitious people who are unable to get into politics or who are not interested getting into politics should come together. You will see that then that all these politicians would think 10 times before thinking of opting to stand for any election. So `public control over governance` is easier from outside than from inside. Ultimately our aim is to bring in prosparity with peace and not becoming a minister. would like to hear you.

  6. Dear Friend,

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  7. Happy new year to you, simple hope on this years is planing my wedding ideas can you help me please?


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