India’s political parties have let down the people. Instead of inner-party democracy, there is the “high command.” Witness what happens when state Chief Ministers are replaced by the national parties and a charade of selection by ostensibly listening to the MLAs is played out. Corruption is a must because there is no other way to feed the organisation. While electoral bonds offer a legitimate route, pressure can easily be applied by those in power for contributions in “white”, even as the bulk of the funding stays in “black.” There is no process for primaries for local candidate selection – diktats come from the top. As a result, the voters have no say in the candidate chosen to represent them. Thus, after winning, the elected representative’s focus is on gratifying the leader, not listening to the constituents. Politics has also become a family business through the decades – with sons and daughters inheriting the mantle from their parents. Defections are still easy to do because ideology doesn’t matter – a politician has to just resign (after being appropriately compensated), switch parties, cause a by-election, and then win on the other party’s symbol. Even after being elected, there is no voice – the whip takes care of that.
Thus, our democracy is built on a fundamentally flawed foundation where the voice of the people is limited to voting every few years in an election where they know their individual vote makes no difference. It is little wonder then that India’s governance model is also a failure – a few know-it-alls make every decision and use Parliament as a cover to provide the illusion of “rule by the people.” India’s politics and government has always been of the few, by the few, for the few.
There is very little to differentiate the BJP from the Congress now. I was jokingly telling a friend that the BJP has become the CJP (Congress Jaisi Party – a party like the Congress). Everything that some of us disliked in the Congress can now be found in the BJP. As they say, you tend to become the enemy you fight. Nehru and Indira may be disliked by the BJP, but they are the inspiration for most political and economic decisions. The mantle of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has been inherited by BJP’s leaders.
If Indians have to become prosperous, they have to get rid of their politicians and political parties. There is no difference between them. This is the real choice we have to make – existing parties or something new. Only when we get past the notion that the BJP and Congress (or the regionals) are our only alternatives can we start imagining a new future for India. This new future – Nayi Disha – cannot be created by a broken political system that only enriches the few. Mass prosperity in India needs an economic transformation, which in turn needs a political revolution.
This is where hope comes in the form of the blockchain which can eliminate the extreme centralisation that is the bane of India’s politics. This is the thinking behind United Voters of India, a decentralised political platform (not a party) made up of independents, chosen by local voters, and united by an agenda to put India on a new path – freedom and prosperity, something most Indians living or dead have never experienced.