There are no short-cuts to achieve the goal: Venkatachaliah

Speakers at a seminar on “Socio-economic challenges before the country and pressure on governance” organised by Janata Dal (United) here on Saturday stressed the need for people playing an active role in politics with a view to cleansing it of power-hungry elements.

Delivering a lecture, retired Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachaliah gave a call to the people to enter politics to clean the system, which was being dominated by those who worshiped power.

He regretted that a robust democracy such as India was being hijacked by anti-social elements bringing disgrace to a time-tested and the most challenging form of governance. Democracy, of late, had been dominated by hooligans and the attack on advocate and human rights activist Prashant Bhushan stood testimony to it.

If corrective measures were not taken, such incidents would recur. In the last few decades, “we have become worshippers of power and not public virtues”, he regretted.

Stressing the need for electoral reforms, he said that over 68 per cent of the people got elected with the help of money and muscle power. “The need of the hour is for honest people entering politics to invigorate the great values of democracy,” he said.

Noting that inculcating Gandhian ideals and values in public life was the only answer to the problems being faced by the polity and democracy, he said that there were no short-cuts to correct the system.

‘Action not taken'

Chairman of the “Task Force for Recovery of Public Land and its Protection”, V. Balasubrahmanian regretted that active collaboration of politicians and bureaucrats had threatened the democratic system.

Recalling what the former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde had referred Bellary to in his final report on illegal mining, he said that Mr. Hegde would have called the area “kingdom of Bellary”, as, according to him (Mr. Balasubrahmanian), one could find a sense of governance in a Republic. However, it was “monarchy” that existed in Bellary, he noted.

He regretted that despite Mr. Hedge's recommendation for serious action to contain illegal mining in the State, action had not been taken against those who were indicted in the interim report and that had resulted in the complete collapse of the democratic system.

“Even the Chief Secretary refused to act on the report. It is regrettable that honest officials have become abettors of crime because of pressure,” he rued.

However, taking exception to the suggestion by Mr. Venkatachaliah that honest people should enter politics, Mr. Balasubrahmanian recalled the defeat of writer Shivaram Karanth in a parliamentary election and said that the entry of honest people into electoral politics would remain a dream.

The former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hari Kishore Singh and Janata Dal (U) State president M.P. Nada Gowda were present.

  • Need for honest people entering politics stressed
  • ‘It is now being dominated by those worshiping power'