Two isms of politics eating into the vitals of economic growth in India

Lalit Shastri

One is seeing with a deep sense of concern that the two isms-neopatrimonialism and clientelism-are being followed so deceitfully by those who swear by and use democracy to usurp power and do everything to remain riveted to the seats of power in India. Neopatrimonialism is cancerous because the corruption it breeds at all levels of government functioning eats into the vitals that should otherwise lead to economic growth and general well-being and prosperity of all.

The Hugo Chavez model of politics was followed to a very great extent by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her loyalists. They had gone a step ahead and put themselves on the pedestal and were pretending as if they were the only ones to shape the destiny of Indian people through newly created Acts passed by Parliament that were supposed to guarantee jobs, food, and education. While doing this they also aped the cash transfer policy being followed in Brazil and Mexico without bothering even an iota about its pitfall and the impact it would leave on the middle class wage earners and the economic growth of the country. The Congress party evolved a system that equated the party leadership limited to the Gandhis as an enlightened despot. The other functionaries of the party were like the Indian satraps or the European feudal lords of the middle ages manning their brutally carved out mains, manors or the ancient Roman latifundia. When I take a look at the Bharatiya Janata Party, now in power at the Centre and other political parties running so many provincial governments, I shudder by the fact that all these parties are also desperate perpetually about finding ways and means to “pay their supporters”. The Communists who ruled West Bengal for a long time had mastered this form of politics but in recent years many other parties demonstrated that they too excel in this game.