Political Reforms: A Crying Need for National Security & Development

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Gp Capt. Tej Prakash Srivastava (Retd.)
Gp Capt. Tej Prakash Srivastava (Retd.)
Gp Capt. Tej Prakash Srivastava has served in Iraq and is a graduate of both DSSC and AWC. He was Directing Staff at DSSC and Chief Instructor at College of Air Warfare. He Served at Air HQ, commanded a MiG-21 Sqn, and headed the IAF establishment of Strike Corps during 'Operation Parakram'. He has authored a book titled 'Profligate Governance – Implications for National Security. He has written extensively on international and strategic affairs and Defence Procurement Procedures. The IAF officer graduated from the NDA in June 1970 and trained at AFA with 107th Pilots Course. He can be reached at Email: [email protected] * Views are personal

Dear Prime Minister,

When I witnessed the swearing-in of new ministers in your cabinet and did a background check of the new inductees, I was disappointed and disgusted. Your original message on taking over the reins of the country in 2014 was Political Reforms’. That commitment has been torn to shreds if one looks at the portfolio distribution.

A Few examples are

  • General VK Singh, the former Chief of Army Staff, whose timely induction into the BJP in 2014 was a master stroke, but only politically, to garner former military personnel votes.
  • VK has now remained in the cabinet as Junior Minister for seven years.
  • When the media flashed the news on 6th July that the cabinet strength might swell to the authorized numbers of the council of ministers, I was nearly certain that VK will be elevated to well-deserved cabinet rank on account of his seven-year performance and clean and unblemished past as CoAS.
  • Instead, you have decided to ask VK to continue working as a junior minister.
  • Sir that is the value of a former Service Chief in your eyes.
  • Sir, in July 2019 you elevated the NSA to Cabinet Rank, a well-deserved grant of status to an exemplary policeman.
  • I also hoped that among the new inductees there will be few military personnel in the cabinet.
  • Removal of an extremely competent soldier minister a few years back, Maj Gen BC Khanduri, who laid the initial groundwork of improving the national highways, is a clear indication of your personal disdain towards the military joining the governing apparatus.

A few highlights of your new ministers as posted in the media is

  1. Out of 57 ministers inducted into your government, 22 have declared criminal cases against them.
  2. 16 ministers in the newly formed Cabinet have serious criminal cases registered against them.
  3. Serious criminal cases include terrorism, treason, arson, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, communal disharmony.
  4. I guess some of them might be considered for the Padma awards in the future.

A large majority of your cabinet colleagues have demonstrated a total lack of integrity during their political career switching political parties depending on what the new dispensation will offer them as a bounty for political defection. Was/is that the political reform you dreamt off and talked about in your initial years? 
Sir, we try and compare ourselves to the western world, the USA, and the UK in particular. The comparison could not be more flawed. In the USA, no democrat/republican changes her/his loyalty merely because her/his party candidate lost presidential/governors’ election. In the UK, a Labour party member sticks with the party through thick and thin and does not join the conservative. 

Sir, that is the character, which our politicians lack in abundant measure. Such despicable conduct is encouraged, mostly by the ruling party, by orchestrating defections. Our anti-defection law is one of the most farcical laws prevailing in the country. The law should be simple and with one clause; “If one leaves a political party and joins another, one will have to wait for five years to fight an election for legislature/parliament, whether as an independent or as a member of the new party. Additionally, he/she will not be entitled to hold any public office under the government of India.” 

Sir, does your government has the moral courage to bring in this simple legislation to keep the political opportunists out of the governance loop? Slogans do not fill the empty stomachs of nearly 800 million poor living below the poverty line.

Sir, is having a criminal record a prerequisite to joining the government? Are we devoid of finding a mere 5,000 individuals with a clean/unblemished past from over 1330 million Indians? Our MLAs/MLCs/MPs add up to that figure. Which political reform did you have in mind when you spoke about it seven years back?

Sir, why don’t you check from your dear friend Trump about the utility of having former military personnel in the cabinet? Your cabinet of 78 ministers could not find a place for eight former defence personnel, a mere 10% of the total strength. Military personnel may not be adequately experienced and trained in crookery and backstabbing their parent organisation, but their integrity is beyond doubt in most cases.

Sir, you too seem to be afflicted by the thought of the military taking over, as was Pandit Nehru. Believe me, Sir, no military personnel are stupid enough to take voluntary charge of clearing the filth created by politicians over the past seven decades and more. We are quite happy in our barracks while serving and at our secluded homes after retirement.

I will leave a message for VK, my senior from NDA days, and a good friend. VK it is time to play 18 hole golf, six days a week.

Above views from a disappointed Indian and a soldier, who was hopeful of watching the genuine transformation in our political system during your tenure as PM. Sir your individual contribution and performance has been stellar so far. But I was hoping for continuity after you demit the office, maybe in 2029, when you will be nearing 80. The BJP failed to implement just one simple measure, which would have cleansed the political filth of defection; Not to accept defectors in the party. BJP is not only embracing defectors with open arms; They are being given ministerial berths. Sir, I have no political ambition because it would be below my dignity to stand in the same queue, where criminals are also standing on my left and right.


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