Sasikala Spectacle: Shocking what passes for democracy in India

Chief Minister must not only be freely chosen but must also be seen to be freely chosen.

Written by Ujjal Dosanjh | Updated: February 10, 2017 1:07 pm
sasikala, panneerselvam, sasikala news, AIADMK, tamil nadu, jayalalithaa, governor vidyasagar rao, VK sasikala, Tamil nadu, tamil nadu chief minister AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala

The Indian polity is drowning in corruption. Many of India’s politicians are corrupt. Quite a number of them are known criminals facing serious charges before the courts. Most political parties are guilty of running a significant number of candidates with criminal records and cases hanging over their heads. The civil servants are completely uncivil and corrupt — no less than the politicians. Many of the cadres of the IPS, IAS, IFS and numerous other federal and state services are busy accumulating wealth by hook or by crook. The corruption and its deadly poison of unethicality, amorality and immorality have seeped deep into the vitals of each and every aspect of India’s life. This much is incontestable except by the human ostriches with their heads in the murky and corrosive sand dunes of denial.

WATCH VIDEO | All Eyes On TN Governor After Sasikala & Panneerselvam Hold Talks At Raj Bhawan

Since shortly after independence, the unprincipled and unethical politicians have been plundering the country; the Indians talk about it, cry about it, shout about it and campaign about it. But the naked dance of corruption goes on and the deeply ingrained ethical and financial sickness and morass continue to bedevil India and its politics. The feudal ethic of loyalty to family too continues to reign supreme and suffocate politics. Previously, the Nehru-Gandhis were the only major example of this slavery. One can now add Yadavs of UP and Bihar, Badals of Punjab, several BJP politicians and their scions and others across the country to the list. This will eventually prove deadly for liberal democracy.

The latest episode of Indian democracy under stress happens to involve the AIADMK leaders and MLAs in Tamil Nadu. Some AIADMK MLAs have been in an obscene rush to anoint Sasikala chief minister of Tamil Nadu. In their mad and blind dash to do this, they are prepared to ignore the very serious criminal disproportionate assets case against her still pending before the Supreme Court. They aren’t even prepared to wait for the decision of the court which we are told is due any day. The politics in India being extremely corrupt, unethical and embedded much beyond politics, deep into India’s cultural and social values, one is terrified to confess – but in its soul – the very low threshold of ethics and principles exhibited by the MLAs in this sorry and depressing tale hasn’t at all registered in the editorial rooms of major print and electronic media.

WATCH VIDEO | 5 Lesser Known Facts About Sasikala Natarajan

It is reported that Sasikala herded and whisked away about 120 MLAs, plus or minus a few, into hotels and resorts to keep them locked away to ensure they did not declare their loyalties to someone else. About 30 of them are said to be fasting in protest against being virtual prisoners of Sasikala and her henchmen. This is the time-worn method often used in India to ensure continued support from the legislators as the herder lays claim to the chief ministership of a state. This terribly feudal and undemocratic practice has been used by so many and so often that it has barely caused a ripple on the opinion pages.

It is abhorrent that the ‘Sasikala MLAs’ were under virtual house arrest as she presented their signatures to the governor in support of her claim to the top seat. This must be sufficient in itself for the governor to reject those signatures as not having been made by the MLAs of their own volition; treat them as inked under duress in ‘captivity’. The governor should personally ask to see the MLAs – one by one if that was his wish – in the presence of a couple of independent observers. That would allow the MLAs to freely express their support for their choice of leader for the AIADMK. Based on that voluntary expression of support, the governor should ask the one backed by the majority to form the government and allow for the trust vote to be had in the Assembly.

WATCH VIDEO | O. Panneerselvam: 10 Things You Need To Know

The constitutional experts may scoff at this proposal. There is a larger issue at stake. Why should a state governor act on a list of signatures of men and women under virtual imprisonment presented by anyone – in this case Sasikala – to allow him/her to don the mantle of Chief Minister? For democracy to mean something, there must a fundamental right to choose founded on a freely exercised will; the MLAs in choosing their legislative leader must at least be as free as the voters in a general election. In free and fair elections, the voters have the right to freely choose their representatives. The governor should ensure the AIADMK MLAs have the same right: To freely choose their leader before he/she is allowed to become the chief minister. The chief minister must not only be freely chosen but must also be seen to be freely chosen before being given the opportunity for a confidence vote in the Assembly. The governor should follow this route. Let true democracy reign; and let the democratic chips fall where they may: on VK Sasikala, O Pannneerselvam or on someone completely different. That is what transparency and democracy demand. That is what people – in this case the people of Tamil Nadu – deserve!

(Views expressed by the author are personal.)

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First Published on: February 10, 2017 9:19 am
  1. I
    indian
    Feb 10, 2017 at 4:37 am
    Very well written.
    Reply
    1. R
      Regi
      Feb 10, 2017 at 4:44 am
      This is right ....well said...
      Reply
      1. S
        Senthil
        Feb 10, 2017 at 4:36 am
        Obvious fact that undermines true democracy....hope truth triumphs
        Reply
        1. S
          SubbuI
          Feb 10, 2017 at 6:54 am
          SASIKALA BECOMING TAMILNADU CM BY ALL ILLEGAL MEANS WILL BE DISASTROUS TO TAMIL NADU
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          1. A
            Adrian Akau
            Feb 10, 2017 at 10:10 am
            It seems necessary for corrupt individuals to become the leaders of India in order that India not achieve status as a respectable member of the international community. Leaders of other nations may show outward recognition of India's progress but within, they must view this country as one mired in the darkness of ethical misbehavior. India, to them, stands for the telling and living of lies and the pretending of democracy.
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            1. M
              Mohammad Bin Tughlaq
              Feb 10, 2017 at 5:25 am
              The real problem is with the Consution. Probably when it was written the founder fathers had no idea of the people who will handle it. As pointed out in this article if the governor goes by the letter of the Consution, democracy in TN will be slaughtered. If one goes by the media reports, it very much looks that the people are against Sasikala being made the CM. But if she manages the 'captured' MLAs to vote her in, it will be too bad.
              Reply
              1. S
                Sundar BN
                Feb 10, 2017 at 8:33 am
                arrE vAdyArE, idu tamizhnATTu !lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;ingE ennA vENDAlUm naDakkum ! lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;JJ made SC have Karnataka release excess water purely out of spite! Excess as per an agreement of 1807 while farmers in mandya cried for water and the KR Sagar Dam has hit rock bottom!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The SC finds it eminently legal and rational and of course 'incorrupt' to spend its time telling GoI to map Aadhar No with Cell No and ordering Indians - well or disabled - to stand and perhaps even salute the National Anthem pla in the dark and dingy roach and bug ridden bowels of Indian cinema halls.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Herding dhoti clad Dravidian like jallikattu cattle ordering them to support her is but compatible with the aforementioned SC and a NaMo who still stands by his blinkered mindset that birthed DeMo with no preparation.
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                1. B
                  balachandran
                  Feb 10, 2017 at 6:10 am
                  This is an apt article. Everybody knows this , still not doing anything. Society is corrupted in all fields. From where we start to set right this.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    Babudabang
                    Feb 10, 2017 at 6:53 am
                    See what happens in india and electorals for those states are to be blames for AAIDMK, DMK AAP, CONGRESS, SP and TMC sorry state if politics
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      Hari Pillai
                      Feb 10, 2017 at 6:08 am
                      A lot of shame being created that future generations of Tamils will have to carry as a burden.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;1. Sasikala is treating elected representative as cattle and standing up nakedly attacking democracy. The only reason could be she has inside inside information of the wealth and is trying to grab it for herself. Shameful indeed !lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;2. The so called MLAs elected by people are allowing themselves be treated and be sold as cattle. The reason could only be the scant respect, fear and contempt they have for the people who elected them as MLAs. Doubly shameful indeed !!lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;3. The so called Tamils allows this to happen in their state. A state they call Tamil Nadu! A state they want to be respected by others! A state they want to be representative of lofty principles, spiritual vision and culture! That is triple shameful and criminal neglect of their democratic responsibilities... Tamils !!! Wake Up !!!
                      Reply
                      1. K
                        Kunjan
                        Feb 10, 2017 at 8:13 am
                        Well said - the problem started from Nehru-hi. Is he of opinion whether it should be limited to them only, not for others? Is he averse others also using the same strategy or spreading the legacy by other means?
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                        1. M
                          Manu USA
                          Feb 10, 2017 at 4:53 am
                          Very true. She needs jail, not power. She is trying to grab power by corrupt means. Governor should reject the resignation by ops, and ask him to continue.
                          Reply
                          1. P
                            Prakash Patil
                            Feb 10, 2017 at 4:54 am
                            I agree with and support the view that each MLA must be called alone to meet Governor , along with two independent observers.
                            Reply
                            1. G
                              Ginlunmang Tungnung
                              Feb 10, 2017 at 5:06 am
                              A democracy cannot be administered and enforced top down. It needs to be built up and constructed from the people at the gr roots level upwards - something in which we are spectacularly failing. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;The Representative of People Act that governs the conduct and processes of democratic procedures in our country requires a revamp and a re-writing w to ensure this. How can a democracy thrive in which the provisions to ensure internal democracy in the registered parties is so diluted and so easily evaded. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Of course, needless to say, the civil and police services reforms focussed on decentralisation and ensuring accountability to the public need to be at the forefront of the campaign to reclaim the high ground of democratic norms.
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                              1. M
                                Mahender Goriganti
                                Feb 10, 2017 at 6:42 am
                                very true but Unfortunately even Mahatma hi too pla a dirty game by lending his name to Firoze to let Nehru to get away with Hindu mantle and communal politics and then the cast politics too and the corruption.
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                                1. M
                                  Mohammed Yunus
                                  Feb 10, 2017 at 9:51 am
                                  Nehru's idea
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                                  1. M
                                    Mohammed Yunus
                                    Feb 10, 2017 at 9:51 am
                                    Phiroze hi was a Parsi Zoroastrian by birth.
                                    Reply
                                    1. N
                                      Namasivayam.N
                                      Feb 10, 2017 at 11:45 am
                                      This is one of the very best articles that I have ever read on the prevailing political corruption in India and the current imbroglio of TN. This article truly reflects the desires of the people of this state as well as what they voice in the social media. Merely following the legalities of the issue would not result in the selection of the best (among the available leaders) as a CM. Candidates with dirty images should be rejected outright. My hundred salutes to this author.
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                                      1. N
                                        Nazareth Nirmal
                                        Feb 10, 2017 at 7:17 am
                                        If jj could be cm why not sasikala?
                                        Reply
                                        1. O
                                          Ob Server
                                          Feb 10, 2017 at 6:26 am
                                          Democracy can only be as good as its voters.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Voters in Gujarat chose Modi repeatedly despite his record in 2002. Voters in Tamil Nadu voted for Jayalaithaa despite her fragile health and lack of succession plan. Voters in the US gave victory to Trump knowing full well his dishonesty and rakishness. Even Adolf Hitler was chosen by the German voters.
                                          Reply
                                          1. D
                                            Dharan
                                            Feb 10, 2017 at 5:38 am
                                            Very well written. The w of Tamilnadu knows that Sasikala is unfit to be for that post but these greedy politicians wants to make her as CM becoz Tamilnadu has four more years to go to polls. It is a shame and God only can save Tamilnadu
                                            Reply
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