Tridip Suhrud a Social Scientist from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India is a columnist with the Inidian Express. Today's column (http://www.indianexpress.com/story/282683.html) is a criticism of the way the Congress party works in India. A criticism that doing politics is not just about being in the government. The criticism is valid for all parties in India and Sri Lanka which are caught up in an era where colaition governments have become the norm - an era where dubious, 'unholy' alliances are forged to be able to 'govern'. I have found it disgusting when our parliamentarians cross over and provide justification that they are doing it so that they can serve the people. Meaning that is the be all and end all of doing politics and 'serving the people'. Looking at the present Mahinda Government it is a soup of political parties and it would be futile for anyone to figure out a government position on any social issue. Though there is seldom anything new in this article I like the way he theortises his take on the subject with which i agree in its entirety.
On the need for differentiating the goals of a political party as opposed to the functions of a Government
"The government.. (has its)..unique ways of solving issues, it also ha(s) its limits and restraints. He [Nehru] warned that mere power of the government was not enough. The government cannot, by its very nature, raise fundamental issues facing a society and a nation. The role of the Congress was, he said, to remain within politics — not necessarily within government — and raise and confront fundamental issues. Because, in politics one looks to the advantage of the moment. But an action that was informed by deeper understanding of the political realm would be framed differently. The action must be right in itself, whether it leads to an immediate advantage or not".
"The ability of the Congress to discern the difference between forms of governance, political action and the larger role of occupying the political space has frayed. It sees itself as a body whose role should be to occupy the position of governance. It is true that one of the moving forces for a political party is the will to power. But to consider governmental power as an end in itself can be dangerous for a political organisation. It gives primacy to governance over the political thereby restricting the role of the political organisation. The party thus becomes an instrument of governance and not of confronting fundamental issues and setting the terms of political debate".
Critiquing the tendency to look at politics as something that has to be 'managed'
"The party is seen as a bureaucratic organisation. It sees politics and even elections essentially as a managerial problem, or worse a technocratic problem. Politics as a management exercise gives centrality to the ‘expert’ and not to the polis. It, in fact, shuts out the voice of the people or the ordinary, primary member of the party as ‘noise’ in the system. A managerial exercise is also an affirmation of the hierarchy. It also validates back-room politics as real politics. It thinks of acquisitions and mergers as robust forms of political alignment. Gujarat is a classic case in point. The Congress believed that by aligning itself with the rebels within the BJP it could defeat Modi. It surrendered to the new allies, allowing them to dictate even the choice of party candidates".