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 is eating into the vitals that should otherwise lead to economic growth and general well-being and prosperity of all.

The Hugo Chavez model of politics that revolved around freebies and doles, was followed to a great extent by the previous Manmohan Singh led UPÀ government at the Centre, presided over by the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi. They had gone a step ahead and put themselves on the pedestal and all along pretended as if they were the only ones to shape the destiny of Indian people through newly created Acts passed by the Indian Parliament to guarantee jobs, food, and education. While doing this they also aped the cash transfer policy that was 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.

Manmohan Singh with Sonia Gandhi

The Congress party evolved a system that equates the party leadership that is now lmited 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 look at the Bharatiya Janata Party now in power at Centre and other political parties running provincial governments, I shudder by the fact that all these parties are also desperate perpetually about finding ways and means to “pay their supporters”.

RJD workers protesting in Patna – May 2017

The Communists who ruled West Bengal for a long time had mastered this form of politics but in recent years many other parties have demonstrated that they also excel in this game of clientelism where funds meant for welfare are allowed to get siphoned away and fill the pockets of party loyalists whose numbers keep increasing with time and the political parties draw maximum mileage from this expanding support base during elections.

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