Governance is commonly defined as the exercise of power or authority by elected government for the well-being of their country’s citizens in accordance with the constitutional provision, the nation’s ethos and inclusiveness. Whereas, ‘political governance’ is the latest paradigm in the evolution of political system in which power or authority is exercised in such a way, so as to primarily fulfill the political aspirations of the ruling government. Despite, India has passed its seventy five years of independence, we are far behind from the concept of governance as several prolonged issues such as communal riots, and discrimination, caste-conflict and other divisive mind-set still find an ample space while governing the nation. Now, governance’ turns to be a new model known as ‘political governance’ as all the ruling political parties in India remain engaged in administering the country by prioritizing their political ideologies and each of every administrative actions are associated with political agenda. ‘Political governance’ evolves to be discriminatory in nature as the ruling political parties purpose their targets and objectives by narrating non-constructive debate, ideas and discussion so as to displace the main objectives of governance.
At the same time, the opposition political parties are also expected to raise social issues, social evils and concern of social changes if the governments do not address the issues and they remain un-noticed for a long time. Though, for the last a couple of years, social issues like, inflation, fuel price, education, unemployment, poverty and Covid-19 management and health have been totally sidelined by other opposition parties. Politics in India are being moved around divisive cycle, such as caste, religion, culture, language etc. Such divisive politics seems to be a new beginning of ‘political governance’ as every administrative action of the ruling government as well as role of opposition parties appear to be politically affiliated and motivated. Currently, ‘political governance’ has evolved over the period in India as a strong weapon for ruling parties which amounts to be a threatening to the notion of a welfare state as dreamed by our national freedom fighters. Following are the leading factors responsible or the emergence of ‘political governance’ in India.
Media as an extended part of the government
The responsibilities of the media in India seem to be an agent and extended arm of the ruling government. Whereas, a large number of news related to poverty, un-employment, inflation are sidelined. Media remains intact in creating stories of such news and facts which amount to be sensitive, decisive and pivotal in nature. The year of 2020 will be remembered as death year of news as the media themselves launched their own investigations in Sushant’s death case, portraying the Tablighi Jamaat Members for spike in COVID-19 case, misreporting of communal nature etc. While the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated media bias in India as pro-government news channels blamed the farmers’ protests for limited oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients, in Delhi though supplies were actually scarce due to poor public health infrastructure. Likewise, in the 2019 general election, the newspapers that received more advertisement revenue from the BJP, hence, remains pro-actively engaged in propagating the government policies despite of the government are exposed on several points including policy making and effectiveness. Such practices on the part of the biased attitude of the media leads to the emergence of ‘political governance’ in India.
Distrust towards independence of institutions
The credibility of CBI, ED, Vigilance department, police department, etc. has come under deep public scrutiny with the passage of time in India as their actions and inactions have raised questions in some cases. Since 2014, more than 570 investigations or cases against BJP’s rivals, a staggering 340 per cent increase compared with similar raids-summons-investigations-interrogations during the second Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, have taken place. Recently, summoning Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for more questioning for investigations into the National Herald money laundering case of 2012, and Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain’s arrest by the ED, seems to be a kind of political vendettas. On the other hand, in Maharashtra, the Maha Vikas Aghadi recently arrested independent legislators Navneet and Ravi Rana for sedition, and arrest of former chief minister Narayan Rane of the BJP amounts to be a tit for tat policy after the arrest of Nationalist Congress Party minister Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik in a 1999 money laundering case. In every case, the opposition has defended itself by describing the investigation-arrest-summons-interrogation in the terminology of victimhood as vendetta politics and vice versa. Such practices in our political system lead to diminish the independence and impartiality of the agencies. The continuation of these practices on the part of agencies or against fits to be an example of ‘political governance’.
Delay in delivery of justice
Justice delayed, it is often said, is justice denied. In India, though, justice is often indefinitely kept pending for a long time. Now, there are more than 4.5 crore pending cases across all courts including high courts, supreme court and lower courts in India. In fact, in 2019, there were 3.3 crore pending cases, which means that in the last two years, India has added 23 cases every minute to its pendency list. The delay in delivery of justice pumps the executive to introduce the bulldozer justice system as being experienced in the BJP ruled states. As a lessen to the suspected, accused the Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states have reportedly officially exhorted officials to take such action against those guilty that it sets an example, so that no one commits a crime or takes the law into their hands. Although, the significance of due process of law, the difference between accused and convicted persons and the role of the judiciary appears to be insignificant and time consuming. Hence, invoking the National Security Act, 1980, and the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 by the Uttar Pradesh government against those found guilty of unlawful protests as well as to take suo-motu cognizance against recent demolition drives in Uttar Pradesh sparks a fresh debate on separation of power system in India. If delay in delivery of justice is continued, executive actions of the government would be more aggressive, discriminatory and inhuman, which leads to introduce the concept of ‘political governance’.
To summarize, governance may be defined as the process of the government and proper functioning of the institutions. Though, several politically motivated administrative actions for the last one decade such as demolition by bulldozer, illegal detention of suspected and religious discrimination etc. on account of law and order issues puts a question mark on the idea of governance. Unfortunately, a large number of media section remains intact in glorifying such inhuman approach of administration in which the due process of law is always left aside. Unfortunately, the new term ‘political governance’ has replaced the idea of governance in India and all the other agencies, including media and people at large welcome such changes from governance to ‘political governance’ model.
Dr. Ahmed Raza, Assistant Professor, MANUU Central University, Hyderabad And an author of a book titled ‘Politics & Governance in India: Commentaries on some burning issues’