Of coalition politics and the canker of corruption…
I know many people will differ with me when I say Omar Abdullah many a time speaks out his heart bluntly. In contemporary politics politicians rarely make straight statements; rather, skewed political posturing is very common among present political class. Few days back Omar Abdullah In his opening address at the second ‘Asian Forum on Global Governance’, (an event jointly organized by Observer Research Foundation—ORF along with Germany-based ZEIT Stiefrung) said “coalition governments would not be able to fight corruption as many compromises have to be made in a coalition set-up”. A candid statement and manifestation of his first hand experience with coalition politics. Particularly, at state level he is heading the most complicated coalition system in the country with one of the coalition partners, the Congress party smartly resorting to preverbal ‘have the cake and eat it too’. Omar Abdullah’s anguish regarding coalition politics is quite visible when he was quoted as saying “If corruption is to be fought effectively, people should elect single party governments”.
Omar Abdullah’s statement conveys three clear messages—existence of uncontrolled corruption, experience of bad coalition and a word of caution to voters, to opt for single party government. Widespread corruption throughout the country is now a known fact and much of political drama going on around the country is corruption centric. In his statement Omar Abdullah has acknowledged presence of deep rooted corruption and has finely tried to relate his inability to contain it, to existing coalition dharma. Almost in all parts of the subcontinent coalition politics is a norm now. In India, for long, not only at the central level but in many states coalition governments are running well. Politicians and political parties have acclimatized themselves to new age of coalition and most coalitions are running smoothly. In such a situation blaming coalition politics for the rise of corruption is not fair. Criticizing coalition system as a whole for failure in containing corruption is in bad taste as coalition governments are compulsions and outcome of constitutional obligations. However, constituents of coalition can be held responsible for creating hostile environment within the coalition and can be dealt in accordance with the constitutional provisions and moral obligations. But for that you have to have enough political courage and will.
If we read the genetic map of the existing political coalition in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of Mr. Omar Abdullah’s statement regarding coalition and corruption then the whole coalition is not only sick but it suffers from severe ailments of distrust, ego and self-centeredness. Each political party within the coalition advances its own political agenda and every politician within each party promotes his own political constituency at the cost of the people’s interests. Congress party with its own government in the centre and with many power centers within its state unit is like a rudderless powerful ship and on the other hand National Conference wants to be in power at any cost. The other political entities outside the coalition are no holly cows as they are equally responsible for ruining the prospects of coalition politics within the state. Corruption cannot be eradicated by accusing each other or blaming the whole coalition system but it requires political determination. In coalition dharma as a partner if you are unable to fulfill your moral, political and constitutional obligations then it is better to walk out of such collation. Instead of blaming the system let you find a way out of such system and try to streamline it.
Corruption in Jammu & Kashmir has spread its tentacles deep down into our social system. Earlier corruption was considered a stigma and corrupt outcasts, but now corruption is a norm and corrupt the most respectable citizens of this state. This scenario of loot cannot be downplayed simply by making honest but irrelevant statements within the four walls of cozy convocation centers. If someone is unable to contain corruption because of internal rivalry within his government he should raise his hands and say ‘goodbye’, instead of blaming the whole system.