What is the Role of the Democratically Elected Head (Prime Minister) of the Country?
Down the centuries, we have seen political parties, whether national or regional party giving Prime Minister to our country from the time of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru till the present Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi.
Unfortunately, we have been seeing and experiencing the Prime Minister continue to project himself or herself as a person or leader belonging to one particular party/caste/community and go on addressing political gatherings/campaigns saying my party, my government, my party leaders, my achievements, my government has done it, etc., thus degrade the position of the Democratic Chair given by the vast majority and invite negative criticisms from different walks of life. The real picture of a Prime Minister till date is that he/she belongs to a particular party or group. Is it the mistake of people or the way the Prime Minister functions? Why does the Prime Minister not get due respect from other parties and groups?
The Prime Minister who is elected by the people and chosen by the party is the ‘key-stone of the Cabinet-arch’ and a sun around whom ministers revolve like planet. The Prime Minister, who forms the government and allocates portfolios to the elected/nominated leaders and makes them ministers, is not only the leader of the majority party or the head of the government, but he/she is also the Leader of the Nation. He/she is to shape the destiny of the nation. It is well said that “when the Prime Minister speaks, the nation has spoken”. According to K.R.Srinivasan Iyengar, writing on “Prime Minister”, I quote, said “when he enters the Assembly, be it a Select Committee or a mass rally, the effect is invariably the same. All eyes converge towards him, all hands clap in eager affectionate welcome as if to a preordained tune, and in hushed expectancy watch his intrepid movements and strain to catch his words and whispers. The men are a little out of breath, the women are almost overwhelmed”. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee proved mirror of public opinion by their speeches. The nation listened to them with rapt attention and accepted them as their favourite national leaders.
Whenever any elected leader from a particular political party is appointed as a Prime Minister, he/she must keep in mind first of all, he/she is above this party line. His/her party may not have taken a root in a particular state or region, but that leader is for the entire nation. Some people may not know him/her, but he/she is chosen to look into their needs. Some communities might not have given him/her their votes, but he/she is their prime minister too. Some people and sections of society may not like that leader, but he/she needs to like them. Minorities want their right to life protected, he/she has to guarantee for it.
On the contrary, if a Prime Minister holds on to a particular political party or community and tries to please a particular section of people, or visiting only a particular religious place or a particular caste, then how can it is justified that he/she is the Prime Minister of the country. If he/she is busy giving only speeches/addressing gatherings/political campaigns/foreign trips and does not fulfil the basic needs of the masses and electoral promises, how can he/she hold on to that Chair which is provided by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other brothers and sisters of our country. If he/she is not taking quick action to calm down storms of various anti-life incidents, how can we admit that he/she is morally fit to administer. If any person in the country dies of starvation, poverty, loan-debt and harassment, the Prime Minister has to think very deeply, if it is my own brother or sister would I allow that person to die in that state of life? How can I feast and throw away crores of rupees for my party’s public gatherings, advertisements, processions/yatras and hoardings from the public money (collected from the daily sweat and hard struggle of Indian masses) when the poor people of our country go empty stomach to sleep, when people are sleeping on the foot path / railway platforms, when patients are lying down on the floor in government hospitals? Why are people dying of cancer due to contaminated drinking water? What is the need of opening cancer hospitals when life threatening products such as cigarette, tobacco, alcohol and other harmful drugs have not been banned? Why are people still living without electricity in remote villages? Why has the water scarcity not yet been solved? Why are the students still walking miles to go to schools? The reality is that the vast majority of the present generation, living especially in remote and backward villages, has been denied of basic human necessities.
Young generation today wants jobs/employment. People in remote villages wait for proper road connectivity for the further education of their children. Anxious parents want safety and security for their daughters. Innocent people locked up in jails long for justice. Poor farmers who commit suicide have been pleading for waving off their loans and implementation of MSP. People who are denied of their daily livelihood due to imposition of certain ideology want alternative livelihood to manage their families. People, especially the minority want safety of their life for they are unsure of when and from where the next assault will come. People as a whole do not expect political leaders to show them the path of salvation by building Temples, Mosques, Churches and Gurudwaras for them, rather they are waiting in hope for a peaceful, progressive, prosperous and united India. When people give the mandate, first of all they are very clear that they place their trust in that leader and they want the promises to be fulfilled. People expect good governance and their voices to be heard. The people of our country are generous and they do not even ask the government for accountability of the taxes that they pay through their hard earnings, but they want that tax money to be used for making India a better and inclusive nation.
Take the example of a small country Israel (an advanced nation). In a group of 10 scientists when 9 scientists agree on a particular point, but one scientist disagrees, all the 9 scientists give up their collective opinion, show respect to that one scientist and go with that scientist in search of a better research. It is an inclusive approach which brings out better results and unity taking the nation to the path of progress.
Take Gulf countries, with only the income from oil, are advancing and providing even jobs to thousands of foreigners. Is India lacking in natural resources? Are we not blessed more than many other countries? Is it not a country which is truly gifted with natural and human resources? Why is there still poverty & unemployment? Why is there corruption?
In some countries, the winning political party consults the opposition party and even picks up leaders from the opposition party to work together and take the nation towards the path of economic, social, cultural and integrated growth. There is harmony in society and people are law-abiding. They respect each other and live together. Why is there political, economic, social, religious, cultural and regional revenge and conflicts in India?
I am reminded of the famous quote by the Hindu Mahasabha leader Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, “India does not belong to Hindus alone. There are Sikhs, Parsis, Muslims and Christians. It belongs to all of them. And only if people from different faiths live together will the country be strengthened.” In other words, according to me, in reality, religion divides but spirituality unites. The spirituality of universal brotherhood and forgiveness taught, preached and lived by great Indian spiritual Gurus, social reformers and genuine political leaders, in fact unites. “They alone live, who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive,” says Swami Vivekananda. It is the opportune time now to rise above the vote bank politics. We can definitely live together if we give up blame game and hold on to principles for, “ Politics without Principle is a sin” according to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation.
In this regard, the Prime minister has to have a Third Eye, which is an eye of Knowledge, Truth and Light. An all-inclusive and all-pervasive Eye. An Eye that protects and guards the Constitution. An Eye that is quick to take corrective measures whenever and wherever the law is broken. An Eye that sees everything; that understands the innermost thoughts and feelings of every citizen; an Eye that rises above narrow party lines and embraces all the citizens of this country, irrespective of caste, language, religion, region, etc. An Eye that can be trusted, gives life and prosperity to all.
Let all the leaders of various political parties sit together and arrive at a point of making a provision of law/amendment to the Constitution that would make the Prime Minister “set apart” above his/her party/community line and not use him/her for a political gain of that particular party/community only (to which he/she belongs) as long as he/she is the Prime Minister of the Country. The Prime Minister must be a person of Approachability, Transparency and Accountability to the Nation. Let the Prime Minister reach out and celebrate major religious festivals of our country with the people of all the religions and castes. The Prime Minister has to keep the country ahead of loyalty, respect, love and relationship with a particular party or group to which he/she belongs because Mother India is much bigger than a particular party or group or community. Prime Minister should have a strong political-will and ensure time-bound execution and completion of the promises made to the common people. Let it be clear that he/she is the Prime Minister of India and not the Prime Minister of BJP, Congress, Left Front, Third Front, NDA, UPA, or any particular political party or community. In other words, the idea of being a leader of a particular party or community must go and the opposition should play its role as a constructive, collaborative and contributing opponent to the ruling govt.
Give a push – for, even the Eagles need a push – towards a new inclusive India.(Published on 12th November 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 46)