A Welcome, Though Belated Initiative

The sub-continental air is thick with elections. With polls completed successfully in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, elections being held at last in Pakistan giving democracy a modest chance, and Gujarat poll dates to be announced soon, there is talk of political competition and elections everywhere. But the middle classes in the sub-continent in general are showing enormous contempt for the political process. There is very unhealthy cynicism and dangerous yearning for authoritarian solutions.

Pitfalls in Political Funding Reform

dir="ltr">As Mark Twain said, nothing concentrates the mind more beautifully than the knowledge that one has only fifteen days to live. As the political and economic crisis is worsening, and as illegitimate and unaccounted election expenditure is skyrocketing (there are instances of candidates buying votes in village panchayats spending Rs 1.5 crore!), parties are showing belated but welcome signs of eagerness for political funding reform.

Campaign Finance Reform - Civil Society Should Act

For a few fleeting days after the Tehelka revelations, our somnolent political class actually raised some hopes of reform. There were early signs of responding to people’s urges to cleanse the system.  With a few resignations and some withdrawals of support the government seemed shaky.  The prime minister characterized the episode as a wake-up call. He pleaded for electoral and other reforms.   And then, as suddenly as it all began, the issue got sidetracked. Our politicians promptly went back to what they are good at – petty power games.