THE FIFTH STATE BY SHANTONU SEN
In 2014 the Fifth State has made its definitive presence in Bharat that is India. Sixty-two years after India’s first General Elections in addition to Legislalative, Judiciary, Executive and The Press the Political Parties have emerged as the Fifth State in India. Their confabulations, their party agenda, their literature, their manifesto, their existence and all that their top adherents do and say shapes, moulds India as much as the other four States do.
The three pillars, Legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive have played a pivotal role in governance and jointly served the nation and its populace best . Apart from working in their separate areas of governance they influenced each other. Excesses on the part of one was neutralized by the other and improvement, change for better living condition of the people brought in by one pillar was supplemented by the other. Much later a fourth pillar joined the original three. The Press, the free and independent press, came to be called the Fourth State. The Press came to occupy this stellar position as, increaingly, its reporting began to be read widely. Wih literacy spreading, the Indian population took to reading the printed material in an extensive way. It was common to see and hear news papers being read loudly in street corners, tea shops etc for the benefit of those who could not read. Then came the electronic media and the habit of hearing and reading news has spread like a wild fire. Now the social media, the sms, email and its siblings, the face book the twitter have all pooled together to connect the population at lightening speed . With this has came articulation and demands of its many readers and consequent changes in our lives. The Fourth State forced the older three to shake off lethargy and anonymity in their mode of work. The delivery end underwent a change as more and more stridency has soaked and stroked the aspirations of the aam admi, the common man, the hoi polloi.
The Political Parties that existed and that came into being early on in our nascent Republic were not strident or vociferous or demanding. One Party, the Indian National Congress has dominated the Indian Political spectrum for decades. For sixty years it has been the Government of the Congress Party in India. The Government and the Party held all authority and changes came through the Executive on direction of their Ministers and their party men in the Legislatures/ Parliament. Later from the last quarter of the 20th Century, other Political Parties had some limited presence . Yet on securing their place in the legislalature and in time as Ministers they allowed themselves to act in accordance with precedents and seldom behaved as maveriks. The result was that the Political Parties tamely allowed their manifesto to abate when so advised as a legislature or/ and Minister. Year in year out all / many political parties , even if elected on the basis of their manifesto, as Members of Assembly or Parliament did little to implement them. They were reconciled to waiting their getting hold of reins of power to working on their manifesto. They did not seek change or” parivartan” as Political Parties.
This has changed and its changing. Our political parties are now being led by game changers. Paradoxically , its the women leaders Jayalalita . Mayawati and Mamta who first showed that as leaders of political parties without power of government and only as political parties they could become harbingers of change. Without the sinews of powers all three have forced changes that serve their supporter’s interests . This has, often, taken place in the face of brutal opposition of the existing government. The Maoists also seek change . Though they are not democratic parties seeking power through the ballot and they do not care for democracy and elections but they are a party and they have forced changes, reforms . Land acquisition at poor rates , rampant destruction of forests, rapacious mining has attracted laws . Some credit for this will be shared by the Maoists. Other Parties are not far behind. Some changes have taken place on account of them . A reforms sought, for instance, ‘ do away with Lal Batti Culture’ has also found favour with Judiciary. Political parties and their leaders are getting changes made in several areas of Governance. The drastic reduction in number of cars in the cavalcade of Chief Ministers is AAP’s contribution. Blue book on security has been revised in some States already. Aam Admi Party has also done away with caste and community considerations being factored in to select candidates for Assembly and Parliamentary seats. It spear headed the movement against” tainted” persons being given seats in our Legislature.Transparency in Party funding is likely to receive judicial nod. Candidate selection is likely to be based on primries. Parties will, surely, ring in reforms in aspects of governance in its broadest term in the future too. The young , the first time voter, an active member of a political party, has made it his credo that this election . General Election 2014. is for accountability and development. Reforms to ensure that is now on the cards
Thus the FIFTH STATE takes birth.