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TN legislators- surprising performance

In the past few days, I have been following Tamil Nadu assembly proceedings keenly in the newspapers. I should say the quality of issues rised by the opposition parties (including non participating members of the government), the level of discussion and bills brought forward has surprised me. For everyone, the obsession is with what the government would do to fulfill its free colour TV scheme (The ruling DMK announced as part of its manifesto that it would provide free Colour television sets to all households that dont have them. I wonder whether all households in the state have electricity provision).

I would give few examples of issues raised,
- K Jayakumar of Congress sought the governmet to restore all panchami land (assigned to dailts) to its original owners. Around 13,000 acres have been taken away according to him.
- CPI member V Sivapunniyam seeking goverment intervention in implementing the rehabilitation package in Sathyamangalam forests. The package was suggested by a committee appointed by the National Human Rights Commission that probed the atrocities or excesses committed by Special Task Force (STF) set-up to catch Veerappan.
- CPI-M member V Marimuthu asking government to implement land reforms by distributing surplus land to landless farmers.
- The government introducing a social security scheme for landless agricultural labourers and farmers.
- MDMK member Gnandas asking government to educate farmers about all aspects of seeds that used 'traitor' and 'terminator' technology. (I have no clue as to what it is but an Assembly member rising this surprises me)

Well, people can cite many more instances of how the members wasted the assembly time by fighing over non-issues and singing praises to their party chiefs.

But, I think, people have created a sort of uni-identity of what assembly members are. To many, they seek after corrupt ways and are looking at easy way to accumlate wealth, incapable of rising issues concerning people. However, the recent assembly session does not fully conform to this 'uni-identity' of leglislators. I think one needs to have a fair outlook towards these legilators though they have thrown mikes at each other, have spoken unparliamentary words inside the assembly, etc.,
To bunch them in one identity is to commit a mistake of not taking note of legilators who are making effort to bring people's issues and problems and government trying to solve them (despite throwing away hundreds of crores in populist schemes)


Ramnath said…
surprised you are surprised.

politicians, you know, meet more people everyday than you would have met as a journalist.

like how people you met as a journalist had axes to grins, the people politicians meet also have their axes to grind.

like how people you met as a journalist tried convincing you (to convince your readers) of whatever their agenda is, the people politicians meet try to convince them (to convince the members of the assembly) of whatever the agenda is.

in all the issues that you mentioned - and in deed - in all the issues that MLAs raise in the assembly it's really not that difficult to identify the source of pressure. is it?

no, i am not telling it's wrong. in fact, democracy is all about this. we elect them to represent us, and each one of MLAs and MPs should have an agenda.

but the main criticism against them is not, as you seem to assume, that they waste time fighting over non-issues, that they eulogise party leaders - or even that they throw mikes and use bad words.

the main criticism is that they represent narrow interests (of the rich, of the corrupt, of the thieves who 'love a drought' and siphon off govt funds that's supposed to reach people) while talking as if they represent larger interest of the people.
John Samuel said…
ramz sorry for responding late to your comments. Yes, it is a common criticism against politicians that they act to represent larger public interest but in fact they are focussed on narrow personal gains. However, I feel seeing all politicans through this opinion is not good. There are (I strongly believe) public representatives who transcend this popular belief.
Abhinav said…
john - you seem to suggest that we should not stereotype politicians as bad, or corrupt.
i really liked your blog - but i do feel that when politicians are corrupt, it is the system that is at fault. unfortunately, power corrupts, i don't think there's any helping that.. if we accept that people will be corrupt when placed in a position of power (or that soliders, whether iraqi or american or british, when in charge of abu ghraib, WILL commit atrocities) then it is possible to deal with the situation. i don't think its about people - i think its the system, we need a system which has accountability.
do correct if i'm wrong, or if i have too simplified a vision of complex issues :)

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