Harish Khare’s article “The conceit of the anti-democrat” (May 21) was confusing. For an ordinary Indian the Karnataka verdict was a vote against corruption under the BJP rule. That the alternative in the State happened to be the Congress does not mean that it is free from corruption and will be voted back to power at the Centre. It is most likely that the Congress-led UPA government will be voted out in the same way as the BJP government in Karnataka. Condemning the honest and wise middle class ideologues who believe in a corruption-free polity is not fair.
Calling anti-corruption activists middle class fundamentalists is in poor taste. It was a Hobson’s choice for the beleaguered Karnataka electorate. The verdict in no way endorsed the Congress-led corrupt regime at the Centre. No amount of criticism of the anti-corruption brigade can drain the spirit of the middle class.
The people of India, regardless of their status, are against corruption. Is it Mr. Khare’s case that if a government has a sound foreign policy and provides security to people, it is doesn’t matter if it loots public money? People can’t tolerate corruption, no matter how skilfully a government governs the country.
The article tries to paint the picture of a desi middle class whose political ideologies and anti-corruption sentiments have been trounced by the Karnataka electorate. The Congress’s victory was a judgment against the incumbent BJP government, itself in the eye of a storm of scandals, and not a vote driven by the belief that the Congress will make all the right moves.
It is true that politicians are seen as the only villains by the middle class ideologues and that those perpetrating corruption are as guilty as the corrupt ruling class. But that is no justification for mocking the aspiration for untainted governance. “I’m-not-the-only-one” is a naive argument. It is also true that the “virtual middle class” still needs to depend on a caring state, which is exactly why probity in public life is a must. The “post-slum class” demands quality governance. With economic growth, this group is bound to find more voice.
The whole point of Mr. Khare’s article, it seems, is to discount the rising influence of the newly empowered class. Funny, because Lord Dufferin once described the Indian National Congress as a ‘microscopic minority.’
One does not understand Mr. Khare’s contempt for the middle class and his diatribe at what has been a popular movement against a corrupt business and political elite. Is it an expression of frustration at the unrestrained and well placed criticism of the Manmohan-Sonia combine and the political class in general by a vigorously assertive middle class?
When many issues need to be solved, corruption is certainly not a bad place to start. Whereas corruption reported in the media in the recent past is all illegal, the huge spending in the U.S. presidential elections is not in the slightest bit illegal.
Thus the claim of American politicians not being “immune to the demands of the fund-raisers” is totally unsubstantiated.
How did Mr. Khare conclude that the entire middle class is disappointed with the Karnataka vote? Was not the BJP government which was voted out also accused of corruption, thus making corruption an issue in the election?
Is it not true that all great revolutions take place mostly because of the participation by the middle class? The rich do not want to give away power and the poor are struggling to fulfil even their basic needs.
M.S. Sagar Reddy,
Another excellent article by Harish Khare! The middle class “activists” who have fattened their bank balances and raised their style of living, thanks to the liberalisation policies of Manmohan Singh, are the ones who attack the ruling dispensation with venomous virulence, and go soft on corporates.
The standard response of this mob to the Karnataka results is: “oh we expected it,” conveniently overlooking the fact that the “Modi magic” was a flop show. Mr. Khare has rightly pointed to “judicial indulgence,” which is increasing with each passing day, not to mention the maximalist view of the former CAG who did only a financial audit of the NDA regime, but thought it fit to do a policy audit for the UPA regime. Even constitutional functionaries like to play to the “middle class” gallery.