Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The number game


Yes, democracy is a game of numbers, but shouldn't you draw a line in the head counting play? It is after a grueling number game that one get elected to the legislature and after another one his party reaches the treasury benches. With that part over, ruling members usually get a sound sleep - no worries for the next five years. But the picture has changed. Ruling front in Kerala has only a razor thin majority of just two members. When the division bells ring and if a couple of ruling MLAs fail to turn up the cabinet might collapse. Last week, actually a voting on the finance bill was there and the ministry would have fallen had the floor managers not realized the shortage when the voting was to begin. Alarm was raised, cell phones rang panic tones and all available men were herded back to cast their precious votes. Ministry some how survived the ordeal.

You can't fault the Congressmen – they might have forgotten that the ministry elected by majority of voters to govern will collapse if one or two of their MLAs took longer time in the loo. Anyway the ruling front was kept on tenterhooks for indefinite period with out even a bit of tenderness on the part of the sadists in the opposition. Insomniac nights from the very first day, till when? God only knows.

Dear Comrades, don't you all know this is all a game? Okay, legislative business is serious, but doesn't a member has to get out now and then for a cup of tea or have a nap or buy something for kids at home or roam in the secretariat with voters? A people's representative can never avoid all this like a diabetic shunning sugar. Of course the opposition members can stage walkouts every now and then to finish all their errands. But ruling front MLAs are helpless, no excuse to get out.
Do not think only men in the ruling parties go to watering holes when the house is in session. Not at all. They go there not on party basis but often as all-party delegations. May be their workers may be fighting and killing each other in their constituencies. But members can't do that in the assembly. There they fight over their politics in a very friendly way. Just as wrestlers of some of the TV shows or stunt men in Hollywood films, no one gets hurt in the show.

Nobody in Kerala is stupid enough to believe that opposition will cash in on the absence of two members and pull down the government. Comrades in the opposition knew pretty well that even if they brought the government down, the same thing is going to happen again if they were to hoist an alternative government. Communists are not such senseless people. They even supported their arch enemy Indira Gandhi when she lost majority in the late sixties. No wonder they supported Dr. Manmohan Singh in the last parliament. Communists are sensible people; they only want the Congress guys to act sensibly.

MLAs can't go back to their constituencies after bringing down a house just three months old. Even the opposition party workers will manhandle their party MLAs. Which member wants to end the much valued membership of the assembly earned after shedding much sweat, tears and toil? Which party worker wants another election now? And, can you imagine how the ruling party workers are going to react when they come to know that their ministry collapsed because their representatives were loitering in the markets of the capital city when voting was going on? An MLA can not be made responsible just by issuing whips. But, they will become responsible when they get a hard kick on the butt from the opposition.

Ruling front MLAs can do a simple thing to keep their ministry in power till the term ends. When going out of the assembly any time, by hook or by crook take a member of the opposition too with them. Hold him tight, lest he returns to vote against the government. There is no other way.

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It is reported that the transparency virus is spreading fast in the echelons of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. Emulating the model set by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, other ministers too are planning to start live streaming from their offices through websites. Any one can see what is happening in the office the whole day. When this is done in the offices of all ministers, evils like corruption, red tapism, favoritism, intellectual dwarfism can be eliminated in full. Citizens might give a standing ovation to all the transparent ministers.

I beg to differ. This much transparency was not required at least in the case of Oommen Chandy. Any one walking the streets around the secretariat can at any time rush to the chief ministers room and can remain there till evening. No security guard will throw him out. CM's office used to house a big enough crowd at any time. You can not run an office more transparently.
Some fear that people may want some privacy when they have a personal grievance to talk to the CM. They might not want the whole state to watch their personal grief live. Don't worry, people need to open computers and go to the government site to see the transparent chief minister. Do you think the people are foolish enough to spend valuable internet time on CM's office hoping for entertainment? God bless you. There are millions of sites where you can see much more transparent things suited to your aptitudes.

If other ministers want the people to watch their sites they will have to arrange songs, music, mimicry shows or reality shows to keep the people glued to their site. No, the ministers need not perform in the shows. That will be more harmful. Even their family members will keep away!