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|August 30, 1999||
Issues 99/ S Nijalingappa
'Vote for right individuals, and they will be able to form an effective collective'
In these elections, I would like to caution people to vote for good candidates (yogyaru, in Kannada) irrespective of which party they belong to. I have lost faith in all our political parties without exception. That is why I myself, after having served as chief minister of Karnataka for the Congress and subsequently been with the Janata Dal, have now made myself apolitical.
I now request our electorate to vote for good, young people to run this country. You may well ask, 'If we elect good people everywhere, then which party will be able to form a government? They may come from a whole range of parties, so how will they all work together?' All I can say in response to that is that good people will always be able to come together to form a government. They will certainly be able to find a way to do that, after they get elected.
Corruption is another important problem today. Every party and group is corrupt to varying degrees. So we should only look for clean, honest individuals, and hope that when they collect together, they will retain their individual qualities. Apart from that, I would support anyone who promised to implement the excellent directive principles of State policy which are enshrined in our Constitution, which have been ignored right from Nehru's time.
Elections should be based on issues, and not personalities. However, since this issue does seem to focus on two personalities, let me say this about the two of them: I do not think we should discriminate against Sonia Gandhi because she is Italian and not Indian, provided she is a good leader (I don't know if she is). Foreigners have become leaders in so many countries all over the world, and performed very well at that. She may have either merits or faults; let us focus on those and put aside this issue of nationality.
As for Vajpayee, he seems to be a true gentleman. He appears to be personally honest. He acquitted himself well as prime minister. I do not want to discuss his party. Like I said, it is the individual that matters, not the party.
However, the real tragedy of politics today is that nobody seems to be bothered about the needs and troubles of the poor or the farmers. Political parties promise endless employment opportunities to all, but they seldom materialise. Democracy may have come to stay in our country, but we do not have good governments, and the people are far from happy.
At such a time, people should vote for whichever individuals they think will give them a decent living and satisfaction. In this era, it is the individual and not the collective that matters. Vote for right individuals, and they will be able to form an effective collective.
S Nijalingappa, one of the few members of the Constituent Assembly still alive, was Congress president when Indira Gandhi split the party in 1969. The former Karnataka chief minister spoke to M D Riti.
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