‘Politics is about solving, not evading, problems’

Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express:

“The scandal of Indian politics is not simply that the prime minister is politically weak; it is that those who are politically strong are constantly running away from political responsibility. This is diminishing the ability of the government to do anything imaginative.

“[This government] is also founded on the illusion that politics can be detached from policy. Andhra should have taught the Congress the lesson how quickly it can become vulnerable because of casual political judgments. But exempting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from serious political responsibility is beginning to extract a toll.

“It is letting the Congress get away with the illusion that the hubris, callousness, even charges of corruption that are now sullying the party will somehow not affect its core image. It is as if in case the Commonwealth Games turn out to be a bit of a financial scandal, it has nothing to do with the party as such. Second, it has created a political culture where Congress politicians always seem stuck in a nether zone: many are smart, have independent ideas, but are simply unable to move. And it has sent a message: the purpose of politics is not solving problems; it is the evasion of responsibility.”

R. Jagannathan in DNA:

“It is a tragedy to see a Gandhi scion hiding behind mamma, shying away from the real challenges of life. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru battled sectarianism and put his political prestige on the line to fight Hindu traditionalists in the Congress party and outside.

Indira Gandhi took on all the party bosses to establish her power and take the country forward. She took the fateful—unfortunately, wrong—decision to storm the Akal Takht and paid with her life. But she did not shrink from taking a decision. Rajiv Gandhi learnt from her mistakes and handled the next Golden Temple crisis intelligently. He also tried to bring peace to Sri Lanka by sending the IPKF to deal with the murderous LTTE. He too paid for it with his life.

“The mark of a good leader is not that he or she always takes the right call, but that they are never afraid to take a decision in the national interest. In contrast, Sonia and Rahul have made no wrong move ever. They are courting power by abandoning the idea of leading. They are opportunists. This country needs leaders, not opportunists.”

A. Surya Prakash in The Pioneer:

“The situation in Kashmir has spiraled out of control. The preparations for the Commonwealth Games are a shambles. The Maoists have carved out their own State and hapless constables of the Central Reserve Police Force are routinely slaughtered by those leading the armed insurrection. Food prices have hit the roof and rail and air accidents are the order of the day. Members of the Union Council of Ministers have given a go-by to the concept of collective responsibility and flung governance and accountability out of the window.

“Suddenly, everything appears to be falling apart. Threats to India’s constitutional well being and territorial integrity unfortunately coincide with non-governance. Amidst all this chaos, the lead actor appears to have deserted the stage. That is why there is just one question on the lips of many citizens these days: Where is the Prime Minister?”

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