यह एक ऐसा स्थान हैं, जहाँ पर हम राजनीति और नेताओं पर एक खास नज़रिये से बातचीत करते हैं, जो हमारी भिन्न स्तरों के नेताओं के साथ आमने सामने हुई चर्चाओं और उनके साथ किए गए शैक्षणिक और ज्ञानवर्धक कार्यक्रमों के अनुभवों पर आधरित होगा । हम आशा करते हैं, कि यह ब्लॉग हमारे प्रजातंत्र के अनछुए और प्रेरणादायक पहलुओ पर प्रकाश डालेगा और संभवत हम सभी को हमारी डेमोक्रेसी को जीवंत रखने के लिए व्यक्तिगत स्तर पर प्रयास करने के लिए रास्ता दिखायेगा ।

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Young Politicians respond to Mumbai Terror Attacks- Dr Chandan Yadav

Dr Chandan Yadav,
National General Secretary
Indian Youth Congress

For some time now, terror has dominated all other issues in television and print media. And very rightly, too. Our commandos’ and all other security personnel deserve kudos for the great job done and for the valiant sacrifices. In the same breath, my heart goes all out to all those innocent victims who fell prey to the senseless bullets of the terrorists, in Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and elsewhere. Media personnel also deserve accolades for risking their lives in the call of duty and bringing the brutal face of terror and horror to the nation.

However, at the same time a disturbing trend has emerged. The media, especially in the aftermath of the recent strikes in Mumbai, has focussed its attention on fuelling public anger towards the political system in particular, instead of dwelling into the root causes of terror and its solution. This total and deliberate concentration on politician bashing by all media channels – English and regional – was something that the largest democracy in the world had never witnessed. Sane voices became suppressed in the whole melee that followed Mumbai. Irrationality become the order of the day in prime time television, with a few socialites appearing as “common men” in talk shows and demanding military rule for India, amongst other bizarre solutions to the terror issues at hand. A well known actress and television anchor was forced to tender an apology for her comments on NDTV’s We, the People. At the same time, another actor’s comments reflect a maturity that should be the order of the day. As he rightly said, there is no point in blaming our leaders; after all, we elect them and they are one among us. Getting rid of one lot will only bring in more of the same, therefore, what is more important is working towards a change in the system, and that has to be a joint effort.

In the midst of everything that has been taking place in the past few days, one cannot deny that democracy is still the best form of governance for India, and democracy will have politicians. The kind of situation that has developed post 26/11 is extremely traumatic for an individual like me – reasonably educated, hailing from interior Bihar, without any political inheritance or godfather – yet someone who has chosen politics and the Congress party as a means to serve the nation despite other alluring career options. And it is only because of the prevailing democratic system within the organisation that I have been given the opportunity to serve it as the national general secretary of its youth wing. My choice of politics at an age when most of my batch mates where preparing for MBA, civil services, media studies, or travelling abroad for higher studies was determined by the simple conviction that politics is not bad, although one cannot vouch for all individuals, just as in any other profession. If certain players have been convicted of match-fixing, have we stopped worshipping the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Dhoni or Ganguly? I also have the firm belief that one needs to be part of the system to bring about a change in it.

Under the current circumstances, democracy will take a beating if we try to prove that politics is bad. At a personal level, it will be a de motivating factor for someone like me who, through this democratic process can aspire to create an impact in my own small little way in the democratic system. The need of the hour is to strengthen democracy to attract young, educated, honest and committed youth to join politics and contribute to the task of nation building. Let me add that all these has not dampened my spirits in any way, rather, it has strengthened my faith in democracy. I am even now, proud to be an Indian and equally proud to be a politician.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Politicians respond to Mumbai Terror Attacks-Nakul Das Rai

Shri Nakul Das Rai,

Member of Parliament,

Sikkim(Sikkim )

Sikkim Democratic Front(SDF)

“It is time to reinvest our energies in democracy”

Seeing the anger and frustration of the people, I feel that this is the time for all of us including media and public at large to stand united. This is threat to the nation.

I don’t think that there is any need to lose faith in democracy; in fact it is time to reinvest our energies in democracy. I accept that there have been unwarranted comments from some of my fellowmen; at the very least we politicians should not hurt the sentiments of the people if we cannot do anything more meaningful.

We need to rethink about our approach to development and come closer to the people.

Young Members of Parliament (MPs) on terrorism and the quality of Indian leadership

Archana Nayak
Member of Parliament
Kendrapara(Orissa )
Biju Janata Dal(BJD)

People’s anger is completely justified and is natural. The callous attitude that our politicians show in handling issues of common persons’ security is deplorable.

So many incidents of terror attacks happen but we forget them, no strong response is put forward. As an MP I feel helpless, this is a systemic failure. Government needs to act in a resolute manner.

Young Members of Parliament (MPs) on terrorism and the quality of Indian leadership

Samik Lahiri, 41 years
Member of Parliament
Diamond Harbour(West Bengal )
Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M))

I don’t think that people are against the political system, it is the anger against some politicians who have made irresponsible remarks. I condemn it.

It is like when a family member behaves in an appropriate manner, the entire family earns a bad name. Similarly because of a few politicians all of us are being labelled as bad. This is a national calamity and we should remain together.

Young Members of Parliament (MPs) on terrorism and the quality of Indian leadership

Kiren Rijiju
Arunachal West, Arunachal Pradesh
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

These (national security) are vital questions for the nation.

I come from Arunachal Pradesh, there is no cynicism here about leadership. I am completely in touch with my people. Anger at leaders is completely justified. Punish those who do not perform. But there needs to be a distinction. There are people who have committed their entire lives to society; these people have to be appreciated. This distinction has to be made.

I do not believe that a political leader has his own character, a true leader reflects the character of his constituents. Responsibility of national leadership exists in totality, not only among the sitting MPs. If people do not like their leaders, let them vote. Why don't these people vote? This is a democracy, we must preserve it. Everyone has a duty to vote and take their nation seriously. There are many people who do not even know who their leaders are, do not know what the capital of Arunachal Pradesh is, these people do not know enough about the country. If people do not have awareness, and are not interested in finding out about issues, then things will not improve. Advanced democracies – such as Sweden or UK or USA – have been built by the participation of their citizens. Over here, there is no participation.

The media has been shortsighted in its politician bashing, they have run away from their responsibility to be a constructive force in the nation.

National security is a very important issue. I firmly believe that such vital issues need consensus. There are security issues in Arunachal Pradesh also, but many people do not even know about it. We need a consensus. If there is no consensus, then let the people judge by removing or keeping their leaders. Democracy permits dissent and people's participation. The people must decide which party is correct and who will bring consensus.

Young MPs respond to Mumbai terror Attacks- Joachim Baxla
Joachim Baxla
Alipurduar-ST(West Bengal )
The Mumbai blasts were unforseen. Yet, this is a failure on the part of intelligence which should be prepared for such eventualities. It is also a failure on the part of politicians since as policymaker we ought to have formulated strong security policies. The anger and grief that has been directed at politicians is not unjustified. We must take this as a feedback from the people.We are the representatives of the people and we are part of the same society. We too feel the same loss in such incidents. However, a gap is also being created and this is causing misunderstandings. We must all work together in such situations and blaming someone will not assuage anyone's grief. The people have been hurt and we must take steps to assure them and generate confidence. There is some opinion that India is por and its large population is its weakness. I do not think so. I think we have proved that we are economically powerful when so many Indian companies buy foreign companies abroad and also that our population can be our strength.

MPs respond to Mumbai terror Attacks- Thupstan Chhewang

Thupstan Chhewang

Ladakh, J&K


The anger being directed at politicians is not completely unjustified. After all, some careless remarks by soe senior politicians have hurt the sentiments of many people. However, one should not make general statements about the entire political class. Politicians are the representatives of the people and are very much a part of the society. I am from Ladakh and these situations are something we have to deal with so often. TIme and again we have raised concerns over national security but very little has been done. With neighbours like China and Pakistan the situation is always fragile and volatile.

Ours is a vibrant democracy, yet we ahve been almost anarchic when it has come to issues over law and order and national security. It is time we woke up and formulated strong policy to tackle terrorism. Aggressive steps are necessary to ensure that perpetrators of such violence do not have a freehand. Each of us has a role and responsibility and must fulfil this to ensure our democracy is functional. Blaming one and other will not solve our problems and nor will it let us live in peace.

Young MPs respond to Mumbai terror Attacks- A. Krishnaswamy, MP

A Krishnaswamy

Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu

Dravida Muntethra Kazagam

This incident is most audacious and affects the sentiments of all people of the country and not just certain sections or religions. Some criticism of politicians is justified but not in such situations where it is apparent that it is an intelligence/ security failure. A central agency must be set up to tackle terrorism with autonomous powers that insulate it from the influence of state governments and police. Law and order is the domain of local police but national security should be the sole responsibility of central forces. Even when theseforces are deputed to states at the time of elections, local government and police interference is apparent and some measures must be taken to prevent this.

India has a vibrant democracy and has done much better than Pakistan or other neighbours. The people tend to blame politicians for every mishap. As a politician I blame the public for not fulfilling their duties. THey demand infrastructure, lobby with local politicians for roads and flyovers, but do not maintain public facilities and infrastructure well. They do not understand that politicians are doing their best and corruption is not restricted only to politics.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Terror Attacks- Arun Yadav, 34 years

Arun Yadav, 34 years

Member of Parliament

Khargone, Madhya Pradesh,

Indian National Congress

“This is the time for young people to step forward and join politics”

I accept that there are loopholes in the system and we as true representatives of the public should always be prepared to accept their allegations and anger. Some of the anger may look unjustified, but we have to accept it. So it is the time for introspection for one and all. We need a major overhaul in the process of policy making in the country, which needs to be brought out in the open and made more participative.

Public representatives should be with the public on the ground zero in such times of crisis. We are elected by the people and it should be made mandatory for us to be with them in times of crisis. Only then will we be able to restore confidence.

Most importantly, this is the time for young people to step forward and join politics.

Young MPs respond to Mumbai terror Attacks- Alok Kumar Mehta, MP

Alok Kumar Mehta, MP

Samastipur, Bihar

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)

Today’s media represents the oasis of more powerful urban voices. They have the foremost task of being responsible and constructive in their approach. There is a large emotional element in such a situation. But managing this emotion can only happen through patience and tolerance. There have been unwarranted and irresponsible statements by some politicians. We as sensitive and normal human beings coming from the same society condemn it. But we also request the media to show their moral responsibility in such a national crisis.

I don’t want to comment on which section of society displays political apathy. But I have a humble question to ask: do we have any viable alternative to democracy? Democracy is tested institution across the world. Politicians emerge from the same society from where the voices of the common people emerge. The task before us is to reaffirm people’s faith in the system in a collaborative manner. I think we need to develop a consensus across party lines at every layer of society.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Young Politicians respond to the Mumbai Tragedy- Mihir Shah, 35 Indian Youth Congress

Mihir Shah, President Gujarat, Indian Youth Congress
We are all as shaken up as the common man, as patriots (deshbhakts). The anger of the public is totally justified and we fully understand, but we are one of them. The Government has no choice but to act.

At one level however it is true that politicians are not as deeply responsible for a failure of intelligence. So much planning, RDX, the weapons is a conspiracy. We salute our army and the martyrs and their sacrifices. Even if with time the anger of the public dies down, the govt. cannot rest till the issue is addressed at its root

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy- Madhu Goud Yaskhi, MP

Madhu Goud Yaskhi, MP
Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh
Indian National Congress (INC)

Not every politician is a chor (thief). Being in politics comes with a big baggage and not all of us enjoy the perks that come with it.

However, people are right in expressing their anger. The way people are reacting now makes me feel that the anger and frustration is not just a result of the Mumbai tragedy but it is something that seems to have been building up over a period of time. I felt furious watching the response to the attack by the terrorist. The response was tardy. We have failed to respond effectively on terror attacks to the satisfaction of people. Many politicians have made irresponsible statements. We have to do much more than just expressing condolences.

People must demand more vociferously form their leaders to perform. But it does not help democracy if every politician is painted with the same brush. Those who do well must be appreciated. Milind Deora (MP-South Mumbai) was out on the site of the attack within in an hour of the tragedy. Also bureaucracy does hold more power than politicians and their failures must also be held to account.

There are lessons to be learnt from the way America responded to 9/11. Their mayor was on the ground zero. They have set up a system where people are made aware of the level of threat that they are facing at any time.

Common man is as important as a VIP. We must secure our public places better.

By taking partisan position in this time we are doing a great injustice to democracy. This is not an attack on Mumbai it is an attack on India. We must restore the confidence of people and respond to this collectively. We politicians should rise above petty politics. We are a new breed of politicians and just as younger MPs come together on other occasions and issues, now is the time for us to stand together for India.

I thank democracy connect for making the voices of new breed of politicians heard in this debate in the aftermath of Mumbai tragedy.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Asaduddin Owaisi, MP

Asaduddin Owaisi, MP
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)

No one should demean the anger of the nation, especially after what has happened in Mumbai.

Criticism is the best part of democracy. Anger should be shown to public representatives if they fail. As a whole the democratic system is working, simply mocking the system is not feasible. The image of politicians is not good. People do not identify with politicians. Politicians do not represent real issues. But there is complete public apathy especially in cities. The urban vote is around 50 percent. Protests by ordinary citizens is fine but where is the remaining 50 percent on election day?

Things have been made difficult by the comments of certain politicians who have tried to douse fire with kerosene. The Maharashtra government has clearly not met the expectations of people, especially the kind of ethnic and regional politics that has been taking place. Politics in India is an unfortunate practice. It is full of opportunism and immaturity. It is high time we reached a uniform position across political and religious lines with respect to national issues. It is okay to have a different approach to economics, but not to terrorism and national security. Indian politicians practice politics as if they in a bygone era.

Despite poverty, there is acute political awareness throughout India. People understand that terrorism is a global phenomenon; it is not a communal issue. We must respond as Indians. The government should make the people their equal partners to fight terrorism. For instance, in America, the government constantly gives information to its citizens about the level of security in the country. People have to be involved if the country can respond as a whole. The government and all politicians have to show the people that their safety is the primary national concern.

The only solution to political apathy is for people to come out and vote.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Anant Kumar Hegde, MP, 41 years

Anant Kumar Hegde, MP, 41 years
Kanara(Karnataka )

Such citizen outrage is justified and necessary. Politicians are corrupt and something needs to be done about that. In all the recent bombings, especially the one in Mumbai, response for relief and tackling the terrorists was extremely delayed. Moreover, when commandos went in they were ill-prepared for the situation. Both - lack of preparedness and delayed decision making - caused the situation to exacerbate more than necessary. Politicians of this country have not fulfilled their mandated role of policymakers but have been working in their own personal interests.

The media too has been most irresponsible in these situations and have engaged in furthering their own image and opinions.

A federal agency needs to be set up to tackle terrorism. This should be autonomous and outside the purview of the government since all political parties are equally responsible for the recent happenings.

Politicians and media need to be subject to some sort of controls since both have demonstrated irresponsible behaviour, especially in times of crises.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Ashok Kumar Rawat, MP

Ashok Kumar Rawat, MP
Misrikh, Uttar Pradesh
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

This is serious political crisis. We should stand above our petty party considerations.

The kind of coverage the media was providing was against the security operation and safety of the people. Indeed, the media is right to highlight the irresponsible remarks of one or two politicians, but at the same time the media should also try to report the cooperation of other people and the steps taken by the government, like the resignations of ministers.

It is democracy which gives people the choice to select and vote for the right leaders. It is easy to blame the system, but there is a very low percentage of voting in our country – only 50-60 percent. Politicians are not from outside society; they come from the same backgrounds as the ordinary people. The need of the hour is to develop a broad consensus on political, civil society and media level. There must be mandatory induction of all citizens in certain military training.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy- Dharmendra Yadav, MP, 29 years

Dharmendra Yadav, MP, 29 years
Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh
Samajwadi Party (SP)

I do not see apathy on the larger scale, people still have faith in democracy and democratic institutions. We as a nation have a history of investment in democratic institutions through participation in the national movement and other national processes. Democracy is tested and has developed through a trial and error method. But we are still open to accept our faults and look into the problems of the system.

With the active cooperation of all people and politicians from different political parties, we will overcome this man made crisis.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Raghuraj Singh, MP, 41 years

Raghuraj Singh, MP, 41 years
Etawah, Uttar Pradesh
Samajwadi Party (SP)

This is a national crisis rather than the crisis of a particular State or city. We should all learn a lesson from America, where after one attack, there are no more attacks. This is because they have a consensus across all political parties. They are unanimous in dealing with the situation.

I accept these incidents (the remarks of certain politicians) as unfortunate one. Inner party discipline should categorically reject and seek a complete apology from party members. We should also try to understand the human element behind the sentiments of these statements but they should be blown out of proportion.

There is bound to be a political consensus on such a national crisis because if we don’t have a nation left, who will be left to practice politics? There is a large gap between politicians and the people. We must find ways to bridge this gap as soon as possible. We need to have an all-empowered and impartial body, free from day to day political pressures, to fight terror.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Rajesh Kumar Manjhi, MP

Rajesh Kumar Manjhi, MP
Gaya, Bihar
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)

It’s only the urban middle class who have been apathetic to politics from day one. There is a loss of faith in them.

Long term solutions don’t lie in creating one institution after another. I belong to a rural area. I see cooperation and support in small places in rural areas. In urban areas, we try to create institutions to create cooperation, but we lose the spirit of it. We should identify the spirit of community care and good neighbourliness and transform it into vigilant citizenship.

Instead of blaming other people, all of us in this society must perform our duty.

Young MPs respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Alok Kumar Mehta, MP

Alok Kumar Mehta, MP
Samastipur, Bihar
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)

Today’s media represents the oasis of more powerful urban voices. They have the foremost task of being responsible and constructive in their approach. There is a large emotional element in such a situation. But managing this emotion can only happen through patience and tolerance. There have been unwarranted and irresponsible statements by some politicians. We as sensitive and normal human beings coming from the same society condemn it. But we also request the media to show their moral responsibility in such a national crisis.

I don’t want to comment on which section of society displays political apathy. But I have a humble question to ask: do we have any viable alternative to democracy? Democracy is tested institution across the world. Politicians emerge from the same society from where the voices of the common people emerge. The task before us is to reaffirm people’s faith in the system in a collaborative manner. I think we need to develop a consensus across party lines at every layer of society.

Young Politicians respond to the Mumbai Tragedy- Devendra Fadnavis, 37 years, MLA,

Devendra Fadnavis, 37 years, MLA,
Nagpur, Maharashtra,

This is a time when both politicians and people need to introspect. God is unlikely to descend on the earth to reform this system. It is the political apathy, particularly of the elite which is also responsible for the kind of politicians that we have today. If you do not like me, please vote me out, but please participate in voting.

I also see a dis-connect between the priorities of the top leaders and the aspirations of the people. Over 60% of today’s electorate is young, unless we can find ways of connecting with youth; we will not be able to restore faith in democracy.

Media has to be proactive but not provocative! When such a negative campaign is being run against politics, we also need a parallel constructive campaign which articulates ideas for improving our democracy. I believe that it is only democracy, which has allowed people to protest from Gateway of India to India Gate. Lets us all say, that democracy is the best system and let’s work together to make it work.

Young Politicians respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Prof Vikas Madkari, 43 years,

Prof Vikas Madkari, 43 years,
Municipal Councillor, leader of opposition,
Pune Municipal Corporation, BJP

The anger and frustration of the people is justified. We have to accept their anger. We should read the public mood and introspect. It is time for us to be calm and quite. It worries me that the image of politics has deteriorated to such depths.

We have to realise that people expect a lot from us and we are failing in meeting these expectations. This is a unique feature of our country that here people want politicians to be part of even their family events from celebrations of birth in the family to funerals.
We need to reflect as to why Mumbai attacks have generated such reaction amongst people.

Young Politicians respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Avinash Bagwe

Avinash Bagwe, 31 years
Municipal Councillor,
Pune Municipal Corporation,
Indian National Congress

We feel like mere spectators right now, there is no way one can defend what has happened in Mumbai, it is the third attack in a series. The only way politicians can restore people’s faith in democracy is by delivering results. This is no time to talk; this is the time to work.

Young Politicians respond to the Mumbai Tragedy-Vinod Tawde, MLC

Vinod Tawde, 45 years,
MLC, Maharashtra, BJP

There are talks of appointing CEO for Mumbai and doing away with democracy. We should look at our neighbour and appreciate the value of democracy. There is a saying in Marathi- Aag se bhage aur andhi main bhanse! ( in escaping from fire one should not get into a storm)

People are right in expressing their anger, but the failure is not that of democracy. There have been lapses on the part of the people who are at the helm of affairs. Even opposition parties are responsible. We have to strengthen our security systems. Politicians need to be held more accountable. Politics has to focus on development and security.

The anger that people are expressing has to be channelled in higher participation in voting and politics. Voting is the best weapon that democracy offers.

Being a Politician after Mumbai Tragedy

TV Channel after channel is saying that politicians have failed to understand the mood of the people. They have failed us. Declining interest in politics especially amongst the urban class, including youth is a reality and the responses of many political leaders to events after the Mumbai tragedy have made many of us react in anger, cynicism and disbelief.

However this is not the time to blame and vilify the entire political class, our democracy and politics. We cannot afford to let this anger turn into a campaign against democracy, politics and politicians. If we feel that our politics has failed us it is time we engage with it with more fervour, energy and commitment. It is time we make an effort to understand, first hand why our democracy is disconnected and bring about Democracy Connect!

It is in this background, that we are making an effort to bring out the reactions, sentiments and concerns of some young politicians, who have been equally moved by the Mumbai Terror attacks. We feel that everybody else except the young politicians have said their piece in this debate.