The civil society in the country today have decided to take things head on for they feel the leaders have let the nation down. Institutional politics have lost its credibility, so much so, that individuals now aim to create a fresh space in the public sphere to try to force a change. Whether this effort pays off or not is for time to conclude but what can be seen from this is that there are frequent instances of confrontation between institutions (read institutional politics) and individuals.
The cases of Yogendra Yadav and General V K Singh are in point. The former was recently retired by the Ministry of Human Resource Development from the membership of the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the grounds that his credentials stood "substantially altered" after he joined the Aam Aadmi Party (known for its strong anti-Congress credentials) so that the UGC did not become politicised. Yadav's long reply defending his case was dismissed.
The noted academic asked whether the government would have acted with the same zeal had he joined the Congress and not the AAP. The question is very pertinent. Pinpointing a position-holder for conflict of interest in this country is nothing more than a sham. Is the growing popularity of the AAP a reason for this dismissal of Yadav?
The timing of these two actions will have an impact on popular perception
Coming to Gen V K Singh, it is surprising again that the decision to launch a probe against the former army chief came just a few days after he joined a rally of Narendra Modi in Haryana. Why didn't all the allegations of Singh trying to topple the Jammu and Kashmir government or that the intelligence unit set up by him spied on key officials of the defence ministry or that he tried to give money a Kashmir NGO to file cases of human rights violation against Gen Bikram Singh come up early? These are too serious charges that demand immediate attention. Did it take a Modi's rally to wake up the authorities suddenly and take up the matter with Gen Singh?
But whatever be the reasons behind these two actions, the reflection is likely to be seen more on the government's steps and not the credentials of the two individuals, who have earned quite a lot of reputation in their respective fields. The timing for these two actions will undoubtedly leave an impact on the popular perception of how institutional politics is being conducted in this country today.
Targetting individuals have become a new trend in the country's politics. We have seen how Mamata Banerjee attack individuals from within her audience at a rally or how Shiv Sena members ransack a hospital over two girls' innocuous posts on the Facebook over a strike in Mumbai.
The silver lining in the entire scheme of things is that individuals are gaining prominence at the expense of the eroding parties. It is not without reason that BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is trying to attract individual celebrities through tweeting and social sections through his poll rallies.
We are heading for the basics, somehow. Thanks to the Hazares and Kejriwals and others who have been imitating them. This is a welcome shift in the country's political pattern.