Kicking off proceedings is H.D. Deve Gowda. The former prime minister from Haradanahalli has had a tempestuous relationship with the media, but realises its power.
With rumours of Gowda not-so-secretly nursing ambitions of taking up temporary residence of 7, Race Course Road once again should the two main alliances fall short, the “humble farmer” has sat down to actually pen a blog as part of his image management.
Below is the full text, reproduced with the kind courtesy of CNN-IBN.
I will be fighting my 14th general election in the next two months.
I entered politics as far back as 1959 and fought and won my first assembly election in 1962. I have won 7 assembly elections and 5 Parliament elections in the last 50 years. It is also true that I lost two elections (assembly polls in 1989 and Lok Sabha polls in 1999).
I am happy with my success rate in electoral politics.
You may wonder why this old man, a son of a poor farmer from Haradanahalli in Hassan district, is talking about his background and bygone times.
I consider myself both fortunate and unfortunate.
I am fortunate because I entered politics in the good old days of the late 1950s and early ’60s. People and political parties still had respect for democratic institutions. Money, caste and muscle power were not playing any significant role in the polls.
Because of that son of a poor farmer (my father had just 4 acres of land) and a civil engineer (I was the sole bread winner of a family 8-9 people) was able to defeat the most formidable Congress as an Independent MLA. Rest is history.
I feel sad because of the slow death of democratic institutions and people’s indifferent attitude towards ploitics. The criminalisation of politics is the biggest worry of old timers like me. These days people without crores of rupees to throw at voters and their party workers can’t even imagine winning a seat in a local gram panchayath polls.
Money and muscle power supported by caste is an axis of evil. It is a lethal combination.
All political parties have failed the people of this great country. Bigger parties must take major chunk of the blame. Institutions conceived and established by our founding fathers have been turned into dens of opportunism, nepotism, corruption and favouritism.
The coalitions, which once gave political stability and leadership to the nation have become marriages of convinience and made and broken at will by auctioneers who sell their support to the highest bidder.
Attempts are being made to fiddle with the federal character of the constitution and India. The regional sentiments and aspirations are sought to be muzzled with the concept of bipolar polity, which has no relevance whatsoever in a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious country.
L.K. Advani who always talks about bi-polar politics must know that India is one country and many worlds. It is not monolithic in nature and a two party system has no place here.
I have always been a leader of the farmers and villagers. I am one among them and proudly say that I am also a farmer. My committments to the rural mass is unquestionable. Out of total 547 MPs in the Lok abha, the farmers and villagers elect nearly 400 MPs. But, nobody talks about farmers and their miserable conditions.
Government has time for everything else. But, the farmers get the least attention of all.
The economic boom has brough both advantages and disadvantages. It is true that it has generated millions of new jobs and created a new economy. But, the same economic boom has deprived of the majority poor of its benefits. It has made them poorer.
The disparity is growing and I am worried that it would lead to a massive social unrest in the coming days.
The rich of the country seem to have forgotten their social obligations in their greed for money and power. It may have short-term gains. But, it will be disastrous in the long term.
I myself have been witnessing this dramatic and not so happy change in my own surroundings. Once a calm, serene hill station of Bangalore has now become an important international business centre. It has become a booming metroplitan city in just 20 years. But, a few rich and powerful people have pocketed the benefits of this boom.
The same thing is happenning all over the country.
India today stands at the crossroads. Both the ruling UPA and its predecessor NDA have miserably failed to deliver and put India back on the right track of development. It is only the Third Alternative, which can liberate India from this political, economic and social anarchy.
Only a Third Alternative with credible regional political parties can apply soothing or healing balm to hurt regional aspirations and wounded sentiments.
The two major national parties Congress and BJP have caused havoc in the country and they have no respect for the diversity of India. They have humiliated the majority of people and have become authoritarian and unilateral. My party has been maintaining equidistance from both the Congress and BJP.
The Lok Sabha polls 2009 are going to be decisive in many ways. The smallers parties are now disillusioned with both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA. These parties (the third alternative) are going to play the most crucial role in the formation of next government at the Centre.
BJP’s (and NDA’s) prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani will find himself miles away from the Prime Minister’s chair on the day of results. The ruling UPA will also be faced with the same or similar situation.
I hope and pray that our great nation will get a better government, which can find solutions and answers to the problems and questions of a billion people. I am a firm believer and have a great faith in the Karma philosophy.
As Lord Krishna says, “I do my Karma and leave everything else to the God.”
May God bless India and her children.
Also read: One question I’m dying to ask Deve Gowda