The fallacy of good candidates

“Anna must find and support good candidates in the next election.” This seems like a sentiment doing the rounds among many who supported the anti-corruption struggle and are now disillusioned or uncomfortable with the plans of the IAC movement to launch a new political party. While this goal of finding these elusive good candidates is idealistic, it is also very naive, unless it is executed in conjunction with the formation of a new party.

The reality today is that while the current political parties have their share of dubious characters who get elected, they also have among them individuals who fit the “good candidate” profile. But the problem is that every such candidate ultimately belongs to a political party (independents are a non-existent or rare breed) and is subject to the diktat of the party high command. Swami Vivekananda said, “Give me 100 men of steel will and I will change the world.” If these men of steel were our elected MPs, they would have been stifled and crushed by the weight of their party high command.

Our political system today has limited value for “individual goodness” because ultimately, it is the party high command that holds the cards. For instance, the so-called good candidate might promise the Lokpal bill but the party high command might not support it. In other words, there is only so much that good candidates can do for you because they control hardly anything when it comes to decisions of their party. Our PM, Mr. Manmohan Singh, is a perfect example of this malaise at the heart of our political system. Despite being viewed as personally being “good,” under his leadership, India has had the most corrupt government in its history!

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

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