Lessons of California Recall

This week’s recall election in California shows us how dysfunctional the democratic process can become even in a great democracy like the United States.  In spite of its spectacular advances in communications and technology and the presence of a vibrant media, Californians fell prey to the distortions of the democratic process. As a result an actor known only for his brawn and nothing else is elected as the chief executive of the largest state in the US, which also happens to be the 5th largest economy in the world.

Market for Public Office

According to news reports, two young men of Mumbai, both scions of political families, have purchased a 6-acre property of Kohinoor Mills in a competitive bidding process at an astronomical price of Rs 421crore. Given Mumbai’s skyrocketing real estate prices, this may well be a reasonable investment. And in a market economy, it is no sin to be wealthy. As Deng Hsiao Ping said, it is glorious to be rich.

Combating Criminalization

In response to Lok Satta’s call, a frail old man walked into our office with incriminating evidence against a prominent politician. It was deeply troubling that this old man, at the very fag end of his life had to approach Lok Satta for redressal of a grave injustice. It speaks volumes about the failing state apparatus. However, I was happy to see the old man’s determination to seek justice. There were many such persons who came forward with valuable information – some of them even braving considerable risk – about the criminal backgrounds of prospective candidates.

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