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Populism must be resisted: PM
December 08, 2005 14:03 IST
Frowning upon populist policies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said democracy was based on the notion of a "popular mandate, not a populist mandate" where there must be a general acceptance that "money does not grow on trees."
The art of political management lies in ensuring longevity in office while taking difficult decisions and simultaneously in resisting populism," he said, inaugurating a Conference on 'Democracy, Development and Social Inclusion' organised by Hindi daily Dainik Jagran in New Delhi.
Noting that ensuring sustained development within a democratic framework was not an easy task, he said there must be a general acceptance of the proposition that "money does not grow on trees and a nation cannot spend its way to prosperity." He said the standard of living of a nation is, in the final analysis, a matter of higher efficiency and productivity and "there are no short cuts to it."
Contending that in a developing democracy, government could not invest in the future of the people unless it raised necessary resources, he said that for this purpose developing countries must evolve political and social consensus on the pattern of development. "We need a development paradigm in which the Government guarantees the freedoms of an open society and an open economy, while acquiring the capability to invest in the public good," he said.
The prime minister also called for inclusion of more professionals in the legislatures of the country "...who recognise the dangers of dividing the people on the basis of religion".
"More and more professionals in our country must join the ranks of those who participate in the process of political management," Singh said departing from his prepared speech adding that sustained development is "...not like going to a free dinner party."
He cautioned that if politics was based on exploitation of religious and caste differences, the end result could be a "...low level equilibrium characterised by social strife and an uncertain environment for the growth of enterprise."
We need more professionals in our legislature. People should respect their representatives -- also because they have personal attributes that are relevant in the task of building our nation. They must, therefore, represent the best that we wish to see in our country," he told the gathering which included Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Veerbhadra Singh and economist Lord Meghnad Desai.