#Politics Opinion

Team Anna’s political party — a guide to what could, would, and should happen



Let me start with a reply to those who are saying that they “always knew he had political ambitions at the back of his mind”:

Dear Sir/Madam/Rahul Gandhi,

a) Last time I checked, we live in a democracy—even if theoretically—and anyone can join politics at any time they wish to.
b) Team Anna doesn’t strike to me as someone who would need to have/do things at the back of their mind or stage.
c) If you always knew, why don’t you get a parrot, lay a carpet, sit at Juhu Chaupati and start telling people their fortune. If things go the desired way, you might as well have to look for alternate professions post-2014… why not start early and beat the competition?

Coming to the point…

What I expect from Team Anna:
India is mired with problems, you name the one you think is the worst and I will give you one, more severe than that. There is no quick fix for any of these, be it corruption or anything else. Team Anna has given us a ray of hope and we Indians are quick in piling up a Brobdingnagian set of expectations wherever there is a chance of any. If we had our way even Sachin would have made a century every time he touched a bat.

Same is the way for Team Anna. Neither is it possible nor it is expected of them to solve every problem in a day, and I hope they don’t make an attempt at it and go for a crash landing. But one thing that is very much doable and will be a big step towards addressing all the problems at once is fielding educated, credible and capable candidates selected via a fully transparent democratic process—not by appointing a handpicked few from the faces we already know from India Against Corruption or otherwise.

I would even go further and take the liberty of suggesting how to do that. First the launch of the party should not be in affiliation with any of the existing ones, none! Newer standards are required to be set, people need to learn to expect more and better from their leader as much as they need to believe that such leaders can be a reality. First, I don’t doubt for even a second in the existence of such credible candidates in every part of India. The party needs to surface them and provide them a platform and below is one way that I think it can be done:

  1. Invite applications from all the 543 constituencies, set the minimum bar for education at graduation, and the applicants should not have any criminal history
  2. Every applicant should form a team of his own of 3–5 members from different backgrounds, possessing working knowledge of administration and finance at the very least
  3. Give them sufficient time, 2–5 months to research in their constituency and focus just on their constituency
  4. Ask them to submit the application mentioning top 5 problems of their constituency, their views and solution approach for those, a charted roadmap of how and how much of these can be tackled over a period of five years and what all funding in approximation would be required for that
  5. Go through these, do the shortlisting, meet them, talk to them, discuss, dissect, improvise, improve, learn from them, groom them and then make the top ones from all the constituencies available on the website for people to view and debate over, give the seat to the best candidate from each constituency (no, not the online or SMS voting, this is not a Miss Popularity contest. Let the party collectively take a call)
  6. Irrespective of whom you select, ask and convince the other applicants from the constituency to work with him towards the election

Similarly, have a larger team of people at the national level with experts and advisers from every important field. Let them have a go at defining the party’s vision for the nation and for every ministry. Make an attempt at something like the shadow government that Obama had during the presidential nominations of 2008.

Let the candidates be the differentiating parameters and USP of the party and everything else will follow. Go the Apple and Google way: develop the products, users do come. Focus on the issues, solutions and the party, and the votes and seats would come.

With two years to go before the elections in 2014, you have the time to have created by then a brilliant set of ideas for the nation by the people who care and wish to contribute. Even if you lose drastically, you would have changed the playing field and raised the bar for the existing political crop to match up to.

Yes I sound very much like a corporate guy but the current chaos model of politics does not seem to be working, so why not take a lesson from the corporates and give it a try. If it fails, it fails; this country has withstood 6 decades of clueless experimentation, it can bear another. Some plan and organization is a definite improvement on the status quo.

Funding? Yes, let us know what exactly you plan and ask for contribution. If we like, we’ll contribute. This is a country of 1.2 billion and many large corporates, I guess it’s time for the advent of funded election campaigns rather than those run by the black money. Nobody here makes a qualm in admitting that elections can’t be won without money; just maintain the transparency in where the money is coming from and where it’s going.

Meanwhile to the 1.2 billion brethren, some do’s and don’ts:

Do’s:

  • This is not Anna’s political party, it’s our chance to redeem ourselves from the incompetent, infertile and vote-bank-based political culture, and to germinate Issue Based Politics in India. This is probably a chance that we have got sooner than we all expected and be sure that we are not going to get any other any time soon if this fails. So it is as much our responsibility to understand them, keep them from going haywire and educate those around us by getting the word out, as it is of the Team Anna
  • Keep the expectations real and don’t think of it as the panacea of all ills around, treat it the way it is, a considerable step towards redefining the way leadership and politics is in India
  • Contribute financially as much as and if you can, if they ask for it

Don’ts:

  • Will the party eat into BJP’s votes? Yes!
    Will the inevitable happen and Congress return to power in 2014? Yes (in my view) and, Yes, even if Modi is at the helm.
    Do we then blame Team Anna and the new party at that time? NO!!
    BJP is not the same opposition on the ground as it is in your minds with Modi at the throne. The party has not had a single new idea since Jesus walked on water. They don’t even have an internal clarity about any issue of national importance let alone educate the country about these. BJP is not the long term solution you are wishing for, it is just escapism from the Congress. They are headed for defeat in 2014, Modi or No Modi; it would be wrong if we axe something good in its nascent phase for something ineluctable and obvious.
  • Winning is not the only way to make a change, remember this if Team Anna doesn’t emerge as major political force in 2014. They would have marked their presence and defined the path that is to be traded. Don’t lose hope and support.

This country deserves a better class of leaders and you have to start expecting that to have them.

I would close with a dialogue from Aaron Sorkin’s TV series West Wing, “You should back the candidate who should win, not the one who could win.”

P.S.: If your comment is, “You are naïve, delusional or over-optimistic,” I already know that.

If you wish to tell me I am no one to tell them or you, what and how to do, OR how dare I say Modi won’t win—I totally care!

If you wish to crack a joke about how obsequious a Congress agent I came out as, or if you wish to offend me with some sexual innuendo involving Rahul Gandhi and me—let’s pretend it was hilarious and move on!

But if you believe this is an important topic to further the discussion on, or if you have some ideas to add or alter, drop in a comment below and let’s have a go at it.

The views expressed in the article are the author’s personal views.


About the author

Bijender Sheoran

I am a 23 years old Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kanpur, currently working in Noida. I like to try my hand at a diverse range of things and my interest keeps changing from time to time. I have been a part of IITK's cultural festival (Antaragni) and technical festival (Techkriti) while in college. A big movie buff and loves watching TV serials, Lost and Hustle are my favorite, reads anything and everything and getting addicted to Facebook and twitter.

41 Comments

  • Mr. Bijender,

    An apt post on the issue. I completely agree with you. This is the time for change. India should get what it deserves.

    Ritesh

  • May b some people would take this post as a kids’ game-plan, but if they do they should suggest better ideas. I like your thought as well as view stand. Good Post

  • your idea of how to work in future, must say, is very good…you hv suggested most of the future problems’ solutns…and yeah now after elections we wil get to knw the aprrox figure of corrupted indians…

  • Bijender Sheoran for Prime Minister! Although I sincerely hope your ideas come to fruition, I cannot see it happening in the recent future. Call me cynical, but that’s just an observational effect on an overly optimistic person.
    Anyway, if the situation has not changed much even after a decade or so, I envisage that we, i.e you, me and others here at NTMN and other places, do something about it.

    • if we want a change we shud have to take an initiative…..nd 4 tat we shud have to be optimistic nd try to bring tat change by our continous efforts…..den only der’s a chance of a bright future:)

  • i thnk the opportunity shud also b givn 2 the youths who dnt have much experience but hv lots of ideas 4m a relatd field…so a group of youth 4m different field should also b made…and they can also b a keen analyser as well…

    • Unfortunately for us Roma, you or I don’t decide how it should be. It’s those at the helm who are responsible for this mess. We cannot do anything about it, not right now at least, except for raising awareness amongst Indians.

    • A senior of mine once told me there are two ways of going into future, you extrapolate your present and tread the way OR you intrapolate a desired future and define the path……I see more and more people of our generation opting for the second path. This might not be the change in itself but it definitely is a precursor of things to come….lets keep our fingers crossed and do the best we can until the political class of this country realize that youth shud have a considerable say in a country where the average age is 25!

  • Dear

    I agree with most of your opinions in the above post.

    Few corrections as far as my opinion is concerned.

    – There should be a centralized team from Anna and others (who really want to do something for Country) to select the right candidates.
    – Administrative and managing assistance shall also be provided from team, should not be the responsibility of candidate. To avoid extra weightage on candidate.

    At last, one question from my side.

    After approval, how we can know that the candidate selected is really going to work only for country and not for himself.

    Really a good quote and thought

    Regards,

    • Hi Naresh,

      You have made interesting points, providing some kind of vocational training in basic administration and management through a tailor made and customized course of short duration to the selected candidates (and even to the current selected MPs, say for 15 days before they take oath) would be a good idea.

      To answer your question, you can never be 100% sure that things will work out as you wish or ALL the candidates will work for the country ONLY! But there can be checks and balances to ensure that and keep tab on their activities. In any case this selection of candidates after thorough screening and vetting would be a considerable improvement on what we have right now….so its definitely worth trying.

      Bijender

  • Hi Bijender,

    I think this discussion is going on right track and certainly bring a concreate plan to go with.

  • Hi All,

    Just wanted to say that i would support team anna’s party as i dont care if they resolve the corruption issue or not but i just want one thing from them that is after getting in power, they should have some strength in their spine and take steps to eradicate reservation system for SC/ST and OBC but change it to give reservation to poor and BPL people.
    any party that dose this has my vote till the day i die.
    -A frustrated Indian

  • Hi,

    Let me make somethings clear about what I am going to right here. I am not being biased about any religion. I only think about India and my idols our shahid Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhahchandra Bose and Shri. Ramprasad Bismil.

    I find your article very much against Narendra Modi at the end. Certain facts of last 5 years are something I wanna share with you:

    I am from Pune which known as “The Oxford of East”. We have had congress and NCP together on the civic board, the state govt for last 10+ yrs has been of the same parties.

    1.) Even though Pune being an IT hub has got no proper basic infrastructure.
    2.) Every rainy season, we have clogged drainage system which has been over 100 years old.
    3.) A deputy mayor who has a case registered (and arrested) against him for land grabbing and harassment of the family for the same.
    4.) An MP with a case registered against him for CWG scam and he continues to be an MP.
    5.) The Mumbai – Bengaluru national highway (Katraj Bypass) which has been the worst stretch of highway I have ever come across.

    I frequently travel to Karnataka and to Rajasthan via Gujarat.

    Certain facts I have seen or noticed in these 2 states:

    1.) The traffic on roads from the airports to the highway through the cities are effectively managed and the roads maintained.
    2.) Look at Sabarmati River bank development plan.
    3.) 24 hour electricity available in Gujarat in every village.
    4.) Biggest solar power generation project in history of India.
    5.) Any case of corruption against a minister (which I believe only 2 in last 10 yrs) is immediately sacked and a thorough probe is done.
    6.) Speedy trials to ensure justice in time. Not like Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru who continue to receive hospitality for their inhuman crimes.

    We say we want to move away from cast politics and come towards development politics. My friend, visit Gujarat or any other state ruled by BJP, you would notice the difference between the two different ideologies.

    Personally, speak it is always good give a lecture in an air-conditioned room in big corporates. Walk like a common man in heat, get wet in rain or stuck on road with potholes, you would notice the difference.

    I agree with the points that you made at the start on how Annaji should start off and plan.

    • Hi Preetam,

      Thanks for commenting, yes I was wary of this being taken as an anti-BJP/Modi post but believe me this isn’t.

      Yours points abt the development Modi has done are right but I never negated that.

      I did not say Modi shouldn’t win but I am afraid given the state of BJP, it would not win.

      The kind of directionless and confusion it possesses right now on every issue is not expected from a party hopeful of running the country two year hence.

      Thanks for appreciated the parts of the post 🙂

      Bijender

  • Buddy… You have a very great view of how things should be done than how to do things… Very well written… You beat my ideas by scoring atleast double points… I’m really Jeoulous of you…

    myname@gmail.com

  • man…that was just awesome! feels like dropping the engineering plans and join the fray…well anyway if anything close to this happens im ready for anything!! had real satisfaction reading a sensible comment…after awhole sh*t being talked on news

  • Hi

    I read your article with interest. I share the passion with which you have come forward with an algorithm to select the best candidate in a constituency. I agree with some of the points and disagree with others. Please find below the points of disagreement.

    1. The minimum bar of graduation does not convey that the person has a sound mind or basic knowledge of the country or aptitude given the way undergraduate colleges run in India. Where many Indian villages do not have even a school, it is not apt to keep education as a benchmark. It will again throw the reins in the hands of middle class like it did right after independence.

    This is the reason why the Constitution is silent about education as a qualification for becoming an MP or MLA.

    2. The basic problem with your model is that it does not disseminate the power of electing the applicant as candidate in a constituency to its people. It runs on the premise that Team Anna could never get corrupt. Sadly, Congress Party is a testimony to how serious parties get corrupted over the time.

    Thus in your step 5, the applicants (cut to a low number of 8 to 10) must be subjected to referendum in that constituency and the winner be elected candidate. We need to create a system where the candidate reflects junta’s wish, however good or bad.

    3. Step 6:-> In order to utilize the skills of other applicants, Team Anna should invite them for volunteering. Only when they accept it should they be deployed for helping the candidate.

    This mail is written only to arrive at a better algorithm together. It is not a “my way or highway” effort. Please understand that.

    Thank you and Regards

    • Hi Anand,

      Thanks for sharing your views and they most definitely add value to what I had proposed.
      The points you have raised are all valid, except that I don’t concur with selection of candidates via a referendum….while it would be truly democratic but India as a country has not reached a maturity level where people would be able to detach their bias towards caste, religion etc for competency and I fear the candidates that would come out of it would not be the best possible.
      Again as yours, this is my view, you of course can disagree.

  • “Sometimes you gotta fight the devil with a demon”

    Great read! keep it up.

    Not saying Anna is a demon or anywhere close to one. Just putting it out there as we as Indian need to be together in this fight, I mean its about time our country moves in the right direction without manipulation from our great government and esteemed “corruption free” politicians. We all want the same thing, just have to put in an extra effort to achieve it. Oh and the media is going crazy with anna stories , politicians trying to ruin his and teams image by passing comments to the media. We call ourselves a civilized country and the next super power yet we cant act and behave like one. Media do your job, take que from this website! citizens do your job and dont get manipulated by the damn corrupt politicians. So what if Anna wants to start a party or go into politics for the good of the country unlike the government who is just there to loot/manipulate .

    Can go on and on, anyway thanks for the great read.

  • Amazing write up. You are right. BJP is hopeless too. Modi is not just enough to save their faces- just look at Karnataka! Modi is doing some phenominal work but BJP doesnot have guts to project him as PM.

  • Ideally your views and comments are absolutely correct, but you missed out on elaborating certain consequences.
    like for example the 1.2 billion people of the country have to deal with people like kapil sibbal, chidambaram, sonia gandhi, rahul gandhi, lalu yadav etc. for 5 more years. In terms of money they can again loot the country of its entire gdp of year in their 5 years term because they would be even more confident the next time. i am sorry but taking a step which has even a remote possibility of having kapil sibbal again as our hrd minister and chidambaram as our finance or home minister is unacceptable to me.
    by and large i would say that BJP/NDA is obviously not corruption free. But some kind of a collaboration should be possible wherein we get what we want in this election itself.
    now secondly i think 5 years is a very long time to wait not just for the people to get rid of corruption and all but also for this movement to have the same momentum that it has right now. right now there are people everywhere discussing this and last year during august 16-17 when there were people out on the road this was discussed even more. so you can see that the momentum is already down a little bit.
    finally the point is we can do absolutely anything right now and that does include collaborating with leaders like narendra modi to make the 545 MP’s work hard and remove corruption. I really believe that that would be better alternative.
    there are quite a lot of logistical issues with this plan but i think they can be solved by a team that is as competent as a team that can put up candidates in each and every constituency to run for the lok sabha elections

  • A good feasible opinion Team anna can follow right now….. Is this opinion sent to those meant??? If not, plz do, and let me know too. I’l vote for canditates with values and passion for prosperous and India.
    Bjp top brass is definately not better off than Congress in any way and Modi not more important than our nation!!! Independent gov. of Nitish Kumar(Bihar-Bjp-coalation), Modi(Gujrat-Bjp), Parrikar(Goa-Bjp) is still good for nation and voting for Bjp blindly b’coz of few good leaders will bring gov. like ” BJP – Karnataka(damn-corrupted! n no justification plz) ” which will just devastate this nation.

    Our Maa Bharti requires able and die-hard Indians to lead her, and not right-wing, left-wing, up-wing, down-wing,etc. and believe me UPA making use of significant no. of Bjp and other communal, pseudo-secular and corrupt leaders will bring this nation under indirect foreign-rule by following “Divide n Rule” policy. – A DAMN REAL POSSIBILITY MY DEAR INDIANS
    Don’t under-estimate the power of one-Indian!!! Great Son of Maa-Bharti Acharya CHANAKYA is an legendary example.

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