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July 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.    Wishing You All a Happy New Year.       July 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Too many shady elements
in Parliament

Jagdish N Singh

A view of medical treatment in Muzaffarpur.

The successive post-colonial governments in India have bragged their efforts in raising education, health and living standards for all people in the country. But all is hardly well . The recent reports on the deaths of more than 130 children on account of an acute encephalitis syndrome in Muzaffarpur speak volumes as to how little our successive political leaderships have cared for the welfare of the general public.

Narendra Modi Given the conventional attitude of our leaderships, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to begin his second term in the country’s most important office with an emphasis on consensus- based governance to foster all-inclusive development and promote genuine secularism . Addressing the press before the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha started on June 17 last , Prime Minister Modi asked the Opposition to speak out on important national issues. He said, “When we come to Parliament we should forget Paksha [Treasury] and Vipaksha [Opposition]. We should think about Nishpaksh spirit’ [objective neutrality] and work in the larger interest of the nation."

Earlier, in his g r a n d electoral v i c t o r y address to his p a r t y workers on May 23, Modi stressed the need to “fight poverty” and to discard the “ fake mask” of secularism used by some parties “to cover all manner of things.” He promised to take everyone along and said, “Sarkarein bahumat se chalti hon, par desh sarvmat se chalta hai [ in democracy, in our current Parliament would care to heed Modi’s counsels and focus on general development. According to an authentic report, the trend of an increasing number of elements with a criminal background entering our Parliament as our representatives has continued in the 17th Lok Sabha polls (2019) too. At least, 233 of the 543 members of the newly-elected 17th Lok Sabha (more than 40 per cent of the total) face criminal charges, including serious ones, such as rape, extortion and murder.

The report says that out of the 303 MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party , 116 face criminal charges. Twenty-nine of the 52 MPs of the Congress party face similar charges . In the 17th Lok Sabha elections this year, the Election Commission allowed 1070 candidates with serious criminal charges to contest the parliamentary elections. The BJP had 40 per cent of its candidates facing criminal charges; the Congress 39 per cent ; the Communist Party of India (Marxist) 58 per cent ; the Nationalist Congress Party 50 per cent and the Bahujan Samaj Party 22 per cent.

Time the enlightened segments in our Republic asserted and saw to it only clean, public serviceoriented people got into our Parliament.

Meanwhile, our Supreme Court may take suo motu cognizance of the presence of allegedly criminal elements in our Parliament and give appropriate directives to remedy the malaise in the matter ? Given the centrality of Parliament in our system, the need for having all clean people in this august House is urgent. The Court cannot afford to overlook it.

Needless to say, our Law prohibits to appoint a person (facing criminal charges) even as a peon in the Government . On selection of a person for a Government job, there is a police enquiry. This Law cannot be murdered in the case of anyone. In fact, this Law needs to be employed more intensively in the cases of those who have been elected to hold important positions in our Parliament.

Media and democracy

According to a reliable estimate, we have today some 1,20,000 print publications, over 550 FM radio stations and nearly 880 satellite TV channels, including more than 380 news channels. Given the nature of their ownership, it is almost impossible for their workers ( journalists) to produce and distribute such contents as would defend and promote our public good. There have, however, always been some brave, conscientious persons in the media who have kept the cause of the public good close to their hearts and dared to question the establishment whenever the latter deviated from its desired democratic and development objectives. All such rare souls deserve our deep applause.

Modi-Xi bonhomie

SCO Summit 2019 In their meeting in Bishkek, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit , Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly agreed to expedite the dialogue the Sino-Indian boundary issue. They asked their Special Representatives Ajit Doval and Wang Yi “to meet and carry forward” their ongoing discussion and “expedite” it for achieving “a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution.
Knowledgeable sources say the mood on the IndiaChina horizon is apparently positive. Xi has stressed the need for regional cooperation and connectivity and singled out the Bangladesh-China-IndiaMyanmar (BCIM) economic corridor as an example for expanding the India-China ties. He has opined China and India are the opportunities for development and do not pose a threat to each other. On his part, Modi has acknowledged China’s contribution to the listing of Pakistan-based terror mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council.

Ajit Doval and Wang Yi It would, however, be too early to expect the ModiXi bonhomie may lead to a breakthrough on the SinoIndian border issue. The border talks may go on just to keep the atmospherics warm for Xi’s expected India visit later this year. Doval and Wang had their last round of talks in Chengdu in November 2018. It was the 21st round of talks between the S p e c i a l Representatives.