20 July 2019 01:15 PM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 18 MAY, 2018

To Resort or Not to Resort

Horsetrading


Take my advice people… Open a resort… Business in booming in this sector and the way Indian politics is being played out - one must resort to ‘running’ a resort! Political parties now look no further than turning to resorts to keep their newly-elected legislators safe from poaching. The new address in town is where the action happens: the fanciest resort in the vicinity surrounded by scenic beauty with a huge dash of political drama. One would say it is literally politics of the last resort!

Horse trading has been plaguing Indian politics for a long time now. Overnight, MPs and MLAs turn into prime properties, ready to be traded, especially during times of political churning. In turn, political parties adopt unscrupulous tactics to poach or influence their own members or from another party. In most of the cases, the defectors are awarded top positions and other benefits. But, Indian politics takes horse trading to another level. In the past, on numerous occasions MLAs have been rounded up like cattle and steered to isolated locations - the most popular choice being a resort and kept arguably against their wishes (or maybe not) till things settle down and the volatile situation eases off.

Pioneered in Andhra Pradesh by showman-politician NT Ramarao in the 1980s and, practiced much too in Karnataka, this ‘resort-politics’ is the most open and vulgar evidence of horse trading in our country. Politicians care a damn for public opinion. It’s all about the money-honey! The political parties involved, and their central leadership, are absolutely shameless. They do it again and again. Such a blatant display of boldness and shrewdness is a terrible commentary on the state of our politics today.

Unless proved otherwise, for every episode of resort-politics, the MLAs concerned are getting substantial benefits. Money is a useful tool in buying votes as it had been in the past, but horse-trading, as indicated by every incidence of resort-politics, is an area that involves copious amounts of cash. How does one cleanse the system?

This trend of moving MLAs to keep them from being poached by others has never been more pronounced than it is at the moment and this brand of politics, being dubbed ‘resort politics’ by the media and on social networking platforms, has broken all boundaries and gone more bizarre by the hour. The incumbents range from the recycled to the novices and the attention-seekers, all wanting a piece of the action and a huge chunk of the cake.

Judging by the calibre emerging, we should not expect anything to change. It is easy to be cynical about politicians. George Bernard Shaw had said, “Politics is the last resort for the scoundrel.” Had he been alive in India today, he might agree that politics is often the first refuge for the scoundrel, thief and idler.

Our political parties are full of the disgraced, the incompetent and the dishonest. They have shown that lack of education is no barrier to profiteering, bribery, extortion and blackmail. There is, however, something horribly wrong about our politics. It seems to corrupt the best of people turning them into the doomed and damned.

India desperately needs an alternative. This is the right moment to launch a fresh face…a new party and give Indians a real choice.There are thousands of capable, decent people of integrity who must put country before self and save politics from politicians.
 

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