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Challenge to join Politics



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Dear Sanjeev,

I am travelling today, and don't have access to a good computer, so it is
little bit difficult to write. However, since your response seems to take the
debate to a different level, I thought I should respond.

first :
All I want is certainly not already there, and that's where we have our ideas
which are very different. I respect your opinions which are obviously based on
the ground realities and your personal interaction with active politicians. I
think we have to talk threadbare on each and every proposal as to how we think
the problems can be fixed, and I will focus on specific proposals, such as
your proposal about making a politicians compensation comparable to the
"investment" he makes while spending millions of rupees in campaign.

On your challenge about someone like me actually entering politics and then
writing my own experience. 

I think I wrote at least two page long posting precisely on my personal desire
to do exactly that and my frustration because our nation does not give me the
right to do exactly that in my hometown. Somehow that posting got ignored by
the moderator, or got rejected for having too much personal flavor, and
personal account of what attempts I have already made in trying to reach out
to politicians.

Yes, Dr. Sablok even though the system is broken and imperfect, I don't need
an outside challenge to enter politics. In fact I strongly believe in the
Gandhian philosophy of being the change that I want to see in this world, but
what do you do when you are not qualified to run for an elected office because
government thinks you are not a "Scheduled Caste". 

I know the simple arguments you or others might pass is that I should go and
try my luck from some other "general" constituency. But that goes against my
idea of democracy. 

I have written to the Prime Minister, and other leaders in opposition, and
personally spoken to them, and I ask anyone including you, to ensure a citizen
such as myself who does not believe in caste system, is allowed to run for an
elected office from his hometown irrespective of whether that is a reserved
constituency for SC/STs, and I guarantee that you will see Umesh Tiwari give
up his career and become a politician and still come back to forums like these
and answer all of your questions from personal experience and then propose
solutions that can work without compromising on principles and without selling
our nation to millionaires.

This is interesting, will write more when I get back to my home or office.

Thank You.

Umesh
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To: debate@indiapolicy.org 
Subject: OK. 
From: "Dr. Sanjeev Sabhlok" <sanjeev@sabhlokcity.com> 
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 18:50:13 -0800 (PST) 
Reply-To: debate@indiapolicy.org 
Sender: owner-india_policy@cine.net 

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Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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Dear Umesh:

All right then. All that you want is already there in India. You will
receive Rs 10000 appx per month plus a huge number of hidden perks. The
fact that a vast majority of politicians are corrupt (or connive at it)
then must be due to the fact that Indians are genetically corrupt. I guess
there is no solution then to India's problems.

In any case, you can now join politics then and contest parliamentary
elections next time. I hope you enjoy raising funds directly from the
individual public (my experience is that  people ASK for money, drinks and
blankets, and very rarely have I seen anyone donate: in your cases maybe
exceptions will apply, but remember that these will remain exceptions to
the rule). 

Please do regale us with your various experiences in fund-raising from poor
villagers and slum dwellers, and how you resolved the pressures which I
have seen operate in India in my many years of closely watching and working
with political leaders at all levels, pre- and post-election. I eagerly
await a detailed monograph with all facts and figures, from you. 

At 07:33 PM 03/08/2000 -0800, Umesh wrote:
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>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
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>http://www.indiapolicy.org/lists/india_policy/2000/Mar/msg00030.html
>
>I have strong objection to making fuzzy statements like 
>"...the political will to pay our representatives a compensation which is 
>comparable to the investment made in contesting elections..."
>This kind of statement can never be the basis to formulate policies on what
>a law maker ought to earn. 
>The compensation for a law maker certainly ought to be reasonable enough to
>allow him/her to pay his bills, and by paying bill, one must never include
>the bills that come out of spending in election campaigns or expensive
>parties. Paying bills simply means what it means to the ordinary citizens,
>such as paying bills for electricity, water and other essential utilities,
>and everything else that a head of a family earns a living for.
>A reasonable compensation similar to a class one officer such as yourself,
>ought to be enough for a law maker. After five years, if the law maker fails
>to win an election, too bad, government is not responsible for that. If a
>former law maker ends up becoming jobless, he/she should be able to claim
>some minimal living allowance with the condition that the individual works
>to find a gainful employment and once he is gainfully employed again he
>should not get anything until he/she reaches the old age of say 70, that is
>when he should be qualified for a proposed social security benefit just like
>every other old citizen of India.
>Beyond that, making visits to his/her constituency ought to come as part of
>the official responsibility of the legislator, and appropriate funding
>subject to accounts auditing, ought to be done in order to ensure that the
>law maker is provided with the necessary means to do his/her job, but none
>of the money allocated for purposes other then his personal income ends up
>in his/her pocket, or in the pocket of his/her friends. This is public
>money. 
>As for the numerous requests for donations that a legislator gets as you
>say, his/her compensation should have nothing to do with that. A legislator
>is free to make donations (tax deductible in some cases) out of his/her
>personal income just like you and I are, and the extent of his personal
>donations should purely be determined by how generous he/she is, how much
>wealth he/she has generated through legal enterprise, and what his/her
>personal liabilities are. The talk of fixing compensation of a law maker
>should never get into such topics. 
>As far as election campaign expenses are concerned, there is no excuse, this
>has to be fought by local people through local organization, raising money
>from local citizens to whatever extent it is possible, with complete
>accountability of how the money was raised, who gave how much money, and
>that no big corporation bought election for one or the other individual
>candidate. But this later topic is a separate subject that must be discussed
>under election system reform, and should have nothing to do with what a law
>maker earns. 
>Those who wish to get a return for the money they spend running for a
>elected office (if they spend personal money at all), through higher
>compensation or corrupt practices don't belong here, and must think of some
>other for-profit enterprise where they can afford to make profit without the
>possibility of going to jail. To me, an ordinary citizen, who is compelled
>with the call of duty to serve his nation as a public official, does raise
>money by his shear ability to energize local population to donate money for
>his campaign fund, which is a separate legal entity accountable to the
>public as well as election commission. He uses this legally raised money to
>run his campaign and not dip on his personal retirement savings. Therefore,
>once the election is won, he does not have to indulge into corrupt practices
>to make up for his personal loss. 
>You can criticize this approach as being too difficult, impractical, or
>simplistic, but nonetheless, this is the right approach, which offers a
>level playing field to every citizen.
>More later. 
>Umesh Tiwari
>
>
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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
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