What was just a casual conversation with a friend of mine, turned out to anything but casual. I being an optimistic was trying to convince my friend that things are changing in India for the betterment of the society or in other words , individuals are begining to be more responsible towards the society. So one thing led to the other and finally we started discussing on how the politics and politicians are full of corruption and unless that changes there is nothing any one could do to bring about the change that we would like to see.
Now the question was how can anyone fight corruption in politics especially when you know that the votes are for sale and that too in the open market. So anyone who is willing to spend a fortune is bound to win the elections. How can any honest man aspiring to be a politician fight this ? So here is my optimitistic view of what could help fight this. It may sound idealistic, but in reality , it’s not . It’s quite pratical but does requires time and hard work and consistency.
So what does it take. I shall explain it with an example. I was involved with the GHMC election campaign for Defence Colony , Secunderabad. I was helping the campaign efforts for the Lok Satta contestant. Lok Satta adhered to the EC stipulations that the contestant is allowed to only spend Rs 2 lakhs towards the entire campaign. No prizes for guessing what happened , Lok Satta lost badly. Congress, TDP won with a significant margin.
Now without taking any names or playing the blame game, the approach i would take is this.
- Review the party manifesto which won the elections. i.e. the manifesto for the Defence Colony ward.
- Conduct a survey ( it shouldn’t be hard as there are only 5 colonies in the ward ) to see what was delivered as part of the manifesto.
- Start questioning the party in power as to what their implementation plans for the delivering their promises are ?
- Bring these survey results to the people and help them understand what has been done and what hasn’t been done.
- Work with the local people to understand what issues they would like address and work on a plan to get the job done. Note, for most of these issues, we don’t really need to be in power to implement, we could make the local municipality just do their job. RTI is the tool we have @ our disposal.
- This would help win the trust from the people and make them realize that you are not just working to win votes, but you are working to address people’s issues.
Agreed this approach will only work for a small subset of population or small ward such as defence colony. But when even for such a small ward, we had huge levels of corruption, and this I believe is a good start. Once people realize who is for them and against them, they will think twice before casting their votes.
Again, this may sound too idealistic or too naive for some , but for me , it’s possible and is pratical. As a matter of fact, I will start working on this when i go to India in the next week. I shall work with the Lok Satta candidate for defence colony ward. Let’s see how it goes.