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‘New politics has a long way to go in india’

Civil Society, New Delhi

Is politics in India getting cleaner and more accountable? Are more people in the middle class ready to stop shunning politicians and engage with them instead for better results? Is an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being in power in Delhi a sign of new politics taking root?

Civil Society spoke to Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, who founded Loksatta two decades ago and was an early voice for reforms in the electoral system, on what he thinks are the real improvements that have been made.

Narayan says it is significant that more professionals and honest people are entering politics. Grand corruption has been addressed. The right to information has brought greater transparency. Voter registration is much higher. Defection is not the curse it used to be.   

But established parties have yet to commit themselves to systemic change and give the new talent they attract the authority to lead it. Similarly new parties like AAP have to go beyond being ethical and tactical to being rational and coming up with solutions.

Loksatta has been a frontrunner in promoting cleaner politics and in getting professionals to engage with the political system. What do you think has been achieved over the years?

In the last 20 years the discourse on democratic dissent and the reform agenda has significantly changed from an instinctive opposition to politics to an increasing engagement with the political process. In my judgment this is a vast improvement.

Secondly, I have always argued that the politician is the victim of a vicious cycle and therefore politics is truly a noble endeavour. We have to transform the nature of politics. I don’t think we have achieved great success in articulating this. But it is finding increasing resonance. We have to figure out where institutional changes are needed.

Thirdly, there are very specific ...

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