TV debates for political leaders in India

You must vote. Of course. It’s the way we live. But for whom ?
There seems to be no political agenda of any party. The only agenda is to malign or bring the other party down. Or to form alliances so that the seat count is favourable. But I have not heard one good speech, or seen one good manifesto, or heard anything that I have not heard for the last 20 years. There is no leader in India right now that seems to have a vision. Is there a vision for India ?
There has to be. As Pakistan loses it’s sovereign status and gets talibanized. As the US moves the war against the Taliban and the mythic Osama Bin Laden closer to India, and As the world reels under recession and the dream of India as an economic super power begin to fade. As the farmers in the interiors lose any hope of an economic miracle for themselves, and Naxalism takes hold of vast areas of rural India.
As India is threatening to tear itself apart in the East, in the North with Kashmir and in the South as the Tamil rebels migrate to India to continue to fight for their home land in Sril Lanka, what is the vision that will hold India together ? Where is the leader, where is the party that says that at these difficult times they have a particular agenda to lead the people and the country ?
So let them not hide behind petty games and seat counting. Lets invite them out in the open and debate each other on TV for the whole of india to see and judge for themselves. What is the Vision that Mayawati, or LK Advani, or Sonia Gandhi, or Manmohan Singh have ?
And how do we vote without knowing that ?

34 Responses to “TV debates for political leaders in India”

  1. Harb says:

    In my scheme of things ideas/visions discover man than the other way about.
    If it were not so no country/culture would have gone down.

  2. isabel says:

    no diffrent from the deep challenges faced by South Africa …
    after the glorious manifestations of a Nelson Mandela…
    question is:
    How can we contribute to the world that we seek when we focus on transformation and possibilities from within?
    What if this is exactly what is needed before we become generators of divine tidal waves crushing us together as one?
    like the emerging of an Obama …
    only possible…
    under the pressures of a crushing down…
    like Martin Luther King once predicted …
    just before he was assassinated…
    the rising to the mountain top..
    in spirit …
    where we meet…
    ah …
    the mystery of the web…
    where in truth there are no begginings or endings …
    except in the learnings…
    of something so much bigger …
    humm.
    the power of golden threads never stop amazimg me…
    where …
    somehow …
    I sense an urgent need for choice …
    to become transformational mystical leaders …
    where the question becomes…
    what can I do, as an individual, that will contribute to the restoration of humanity… at unity???
    a quest I would love to explore with like minded souls…
    hummm

  3. Shikhar says:

    hi Shekhar,
    You have yourself given the answer in some ways. Indiaís greatest need from the government is to at least safe guard our cities and towns from Islamic extremist who very occasionally bomb our temples, markets, social gatherings etc. and to add to this extremism from Pakistan & Bangladesh waiting to spill in India. (Because of itís large Muslim population) We have very intolerable neighbors for sure.
    Donít worry about the economy the government have the least of its role in it, they only come in the procedure to earn brownie points and of course bribes. The business in India has taken care by our corporates and small, middle and big businessmen.
    Whom should we elect thatís a tricky question but Iíve the answer for it and Iíll reserve that for the Election Day. I did not see the debate of American President nominees but love to see Mayawati grilling everyone lol

  4. Chaitali says:

    Mayawati? seriously? Can she have a vision for anyone beyound herself?
    I think I would like to hear Narendra Modi too…

  5. Shikhar says:

    hi Shekhar,
    You have yourself given the answer in some ways. Indiaís greatest need from the government is to at least safe guard our cities and towns from Islamic extremist who very occasionally bomb our temples, markets, social gatherings etc. and to add to this extremism from Pakistan & Bangladesh waiting to spill in India. (Because of itís large Muslim population) We have very intolerable neighbors for sure.
    Donít worry about the economy the government have the least of its role in it, they only come in the procedure to earn brownie points and of course bribes. The business in India has taken care by our corporates and small, middle and big businessmen.
    Whom should we elect thatís a tricky question but Iíve the answer for it and Iíll reserve that for the Election Day. I did not see the debate of American President nominees but love to see Mayawati grilling everyone lol

  6. DQ says:

    Pssst Shekhar if we do have any tv shows with these ‘mahaan atma’s’
    please tell dem to come barefeet…thats the first policy…
    .
    don’t want to see shoes flying around while we watch them on tv
    .
    sabsei pehlei tho indian politicians need to behave like humans not like monkies in a sabzi mandi
    .
    .
    I find it so disgusting that we call ourselves blah, blah, etc etc, cultured etc etc
    .
    .
    and basic tameez hi bhool jaatei hai aapas mei…baki ki tameez kaha se ayegi desh chalanei ki?
    .
    .
    Pathetic!
    What to do with good speeches?
    has good leadership really been a result of good speech?
    The collective integrity, the past method of how partly or an entire problem has been dissolved or been lead with balance, with better results, with vision…such characters need to be considered
    .
    .
    Speeches, and stage shows…how long does it take for them to master this small show?
    Why we humans look forward to good speches and not follow our instincts and the past of these people…their behaviour why do we get carried away with ‘Pollywood’
    ‘Parrots of politics’
    errm like to have Black coffee wid me? eh heh
    No sugar no milk
    .
    .
    shmile

  7. sudhanshoo says:

    (a) We need internal party debates to be made public when they choose their leader and declare him/her as the face of the party.
    followed by…
    (b) Debates between members of different parties.
    The funny part is that the 2 dudes I will see debating will form an alliance post the election results!!

  8. Ritu says:

    DQ: Welcome back. ūüôā
    As usual you are such a breath of fresh air on this forum. In your own inimitable style you make a point crystal clear. I love the little nuggets of deep wisdom that you drop so naturally and instinctively. And over all the basic warmth in your posts makes me always look forward to them.
    Keep writing! ūüôā

  9. Ritu says:

    Harb says:
    “In my scheme of things ideas/visions discover man than the other way about.

    Very profound and true. You are right, when time comes the society throws up it’s leader and visionary. The idea certainly is the driver and humans mere passengers.
    I have been rueing the lack of political debate for so long. We certainly need it. For all it’s flaws the best thing about American politics is that it’s issue based. I caught a speech by Narendra Modi on TV the other day. It was so juvenile. It reminded me of how the boys in my class behaved when we were little. He was niggling Sharad Pawar’s ‘Maharastrianism’ by accusing him of not giving Sachin Tendulkar captaincy of the Indian Cricket Team (and hence he’s less Maharastrian). And the worst was that Pawar actually defended himself against such an imbecile accusation.
    And Narendra Modi is being touted as the next PM. Is this what we want?

  10. Sidhusaaheb says:

    That would be good, except that the very next day they might deny most of what they said on television, alleging that the tapes had been doctored, a la Varun Gandhi.

  11. Sree says:

    Hi Shekar,
    Who do you think should come for the debate? Nobody knows who is going to form the government and who they are going to partner with, meaning as a Politician you don’t want to over expose your policies and ideologies because who might end up blowing your chances of forming a great coalition with no common plan. End of the day thats what we gonna get, a big and messy coalition with no clear policy and too much influence of regional parties will make it even tougher to run a government.

  12. Interestingly Shashi Tharoor is fielding for Congress.

  13. brahmastra says:

    Why is it that you cannot see what Modi has done in Gujarat? Have you spoken to Gujaratis? 95% of them are all praises for the herculean progressive work that has been accomplished there far beyond anything any of the other parties have ever done in 60 yrs. Even some moderate muslim leaders are openly praising Modi now.
    BJP is way lesser of the evils, a lot more well-intended, and they should be given a solid chance by educated people like the ones here instead of beating the communal drum all the time. Sadly, they have been massively portrayed as an anti-minority party, and the fear in the minorities will not allow them to listen to reason even for the collective good..so it is important that at least a good number of Hindus vote for the BJP.

  14. Vinita says:

    The truth is no party is interested to do good for the country. I find it downright immature when parties upon which our country imposes faith, be they Congress or BJP continually attack the other. Is this part of campaigning ?
    Varun Gandhi’s remarks were unwarranted, agreed. But did he need to face arrest for it ?

  15. brahmastra says:

    Vinita,
    The italian waitress Sonia Gandhi, her imbecile son and other low-level Congress honchos are fearful of new dynamic leaders like Varun Gandhi rising in the BJP and carrying the party with it. So they will try all unethical tactics to stop him.
    He never made any direct remarks against any religion, and may have accused Pakistan..but is that a crime when the entire Indian media is doing the same everyday? So what if he is standing up to defend Hindus..India needs people like that.

  16. I do not expect anything new apart from more market savvy electioneering on the back of new technology and media. The absence of a genuine debate does not irk ‘enough’ of us.The absence of ‘issue based’ ideologies and ‘vision’ does not matter to a great number to make a dent.Importantly I don’t think our politicians have lost the ability listening to people’s voices.
    My thumb rule after lot of deliberation is – Look for the team which is fielding more younger people than before. The ones who are creating the second line of leadership,( ‘no not the indoctrinated teenage’ram sevaks’ gunning for ticket types’). I will try hard to listen to their voices amidst all the din. In them I can expect any notion of genuine change..not this time around, but in time, when its right.
    Let’s promote not our current leaders – but the ones where we see a potential.Our current set of leaders sans some have long lost any touch with the real world.Get the younger ones to win and we sow seeds for any change in the political landscape. Genuine change is not going to be immediate.

  17. Mee says:

    …and we MUST vote, they will have us believe. We’d like to too.
    With much corruption amongst politicians (you cant seriously blame them)- our MPís make petty money (Rs 30,000/- and above) from just raising questions in parliament and the BJP has such MPís too:)
    Juxtapose this with the fact that India is number one when it comes to money in Swiss bank accounts and we have no way of knowing who doesnít have an account there. While people from all walks of life probably have accounts there, I am sure our politicians lead the pack. People who are there to make our country prosper are looting it, perhaps:)
    The ruling party gloated over its sensational yet marginal victory post the nuke deal came through- speaks volumes for performance, doesn’t it:)
    Life seems to be hanging in the fragile in India. Intolerance, hatred, religion based politics, corruption, blame game, apathy, complete abdication of responsibility, and then- voting for exactly the same impotent useless good for nothing irresponsible corrupt parties all over again?! What makes us sure we indeed will move forward and not into oblivion- do We know where we’d like to be heading?

  18. pallavi says:

    nice write up ..
    i think the left has an agenda , they opposed the privatisation of the national banks and insurance companies.
    i hated them for not standing for the nuclear deal.. but i love them now, especially after the recession.
    if it was’nt for them , we wud have been facing the same troubles as america, had we been merged in their economy.

  19. ginak says:

    Hey Shekhar!
    Well said..but these politicians in India cant even have an informed debate without bringing in silly issues and shouting at each other…Like Sree said..how dare they expose their party ideology or what they stand for..for they might have to ally themselves with ppl with radically opp views post election for power…so meaningless..

  20. austere says:

    Civilised, rational debate?
    Yes, I’m laughing.
    And probably won’t.

  21. Alok says:

    Leaders/Politicians are as good as their people – you feel offended by this challenge of mine ?? See any state/country the leader just reflects the sentiments of common masses , so its time we do some soul searching and look into ourselves too.
    Few examples:-
    1.GW Bush takes America to war coz Americans are agressive lot.
    2. Narendra Modi talks development coz Gujratis are progrsssive minded/hard working ppl.
    3. UP/Bihar netas appear confused and backward but more humane-sorry to say but just a reflection of ppl there.
    4. National leaders – All talks and no work is the best strategy as dats the way a vibrant/diverse country where every state/person has its own unique agenda can be managed .Trust me in India even a Manmohan Singh can be brickbatted .
    When more than 50% of country really becomes united in thoughts/ideology the leaders will start appearing sensible .

  22. ray says:

    came across http://www.lkadvani.in
    It talks of his visions as the PM.
    The promises/visions are very forwarding for the citizens of this nation if actually they are fulfilled irrespective of whatever the party.

  23. DQ says:

    ***Ritu***
    Hiya Ritu!
    Hey Thank you so much for thy appreciation.
    My! My! mera naak ‘SOOoJ’ raha hai eh heh!!
    Psst my hindi gets pathetic at times huh, hindi mei fail hui thi argh!
    .
    .
    Jee bilkul, bilkul jab, thuk shekhar sahab hummei bardash kar saktei hai, aur janta bhi, thub thuk hum yehi hu ‘bheja fry’ karnei ke liyei
    .
    .
    sochti hu waqt ne kitnei ‘nutri nuggets’ ghuserei hongei mujmei ki kabhi kabhi kuch sense pesh kar hi deti hu shayad…
    ‘Shukriya’ kehenei ke ilava keh bhi kya sakti hu…
    male hoti tho shayad aapko line maarti eh heh!
    hugsss n love bugzzz
    Sapna

  24. Dast says:

    Sometimes decency has to be put on the shelf. For a terrorist like Varun Gandhi (inciting people to mob violence is terrorism). The proper reply (headline) should be from some politician which should be something like this :
    “IF someone insults the Idea of India, the ethos of India., the people of India and tries to tear the social fabric of India apart, I… with my own hands… will chop off his Cock… and throw it to dogs”. This is the langauge to use against terrorists… and give it front page headline… main TV headline…
    If Varun moves around with 20 Armed goons… grab him.. strip him naked… (with hands tied back)… and let him run naked… on the streets… with people clapping. Dont harm him… but show him running nude on TV. This is hatred… you have to deal very sternly against terrorists and Hindutva Taliban like Varun Gandhi., otherwise they will turn India into Afghanistan. This psychopath must be dealt with very sternly. His father said the same things (there was state TV – and no Pvt. Electronic media at that time… so Indira ji covered a lot of Sanjay’s sins. Ultimately Sanjay’s cheap-ness pulled Indira down… and she died destroying every the eddifice which Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru so beautifully built and nurtured). The Idea of India and its foundations laid by Nehru ji… were destroyed by Indira… for personal reasons. She wanted to crown herself as Empress… and Sanjay as the next king. Since then, it has been a land-slide.

  25. Pankaj Agrawal says:

    You got the crux of the problem. There was this recent US elections and u could see so many debates between the candidates so many times all over the world. In India, no leader will feel confident for such debates. But leave aside debates, how much do we know our leaders. How many interviews of Manmohan Singh or Sonia Ganghi have we seen. Whatever we know about our leaders is from the prejudiced media projections. In fact it is a tactic to not come for public appearances and instead use some TV channels to project ur image just as u want to.

  26. brahmastra says:

    The glue that will unite India is Hindutva..it is only quite natural. The great Emperor Ashok used Buddhism as the glue..but now it seems like esoteric Hinduism can be reborn. Any party that comes close to such an ideology is good in the bigger picture.
    India has the solution staring it in the face. The minorities have been put in a state of anti-hindu paranoia by unethical propaganda coupled with their own fanatic beliefs. Without Hinduism, India will plunge into darkness like many other countries in the world.

  27. Dast says:

    In India, it is not debates but RIOTS that decide elections. Execute a problem (action ), then spread the area of operation to create a (Reaction)… burn thousands alive – carnage – genocide – holocaust. Do not give a damn to world opinion. Empower one group of people to kill another group of people with impunity., and ride to victory. Even Hitler had won elections. But Germany paid a heavy price for that adventure. Hitler was accepted – Modi is accepted because they were elected… but in Algeria. This paradox is at the heart of the matter.

  28. Indian politicians and vision! cant even talk of the two in the same breath.
    Brahmastra, are you talking of the glue that varun gandhi is screaming himself hoarse over?
    can u blame the minorities for getting paranoid with the hindutva party thowing its weight behind such characters?

  29. Mr Shekhar,
    Your opinion that our media has a larger role to play to make our democracy more meaningful is very much the need of the hour.
    I write at Kalugu.com where your articles are republished. I have written articles that focus on the Sri Lankan issue quite a bit. I would like to point out that recently the war imagery coming from Sri Lanka has caused concern and public outcry in the South India. While it is important to monitor activities of outlawed groups, it is also important to uphold humanitarian norms.
    My observation after reading several of your articles is that you have a genuine concern for the people of our nation and region. Your ideas and views are reflective of your true concern for the common man. Therefore, I urge you to take a closer look at the Sri Lankan crisis and write more about the same. In my opinion the Sri Lankan crisis has prolonged because we Indians have failed to see the real problem – which is discrimination of the minorities.
    I look forward to your opinions on the same.
    Thank You.

  30. s.manoharan says:

    In which language they can debate? Neither English nor Hindi can reach all.
    Some of the debates arranged by TV channels among second level politicians are full of shouts and counter-shouts. They themselves do not want to hear any alternate opinion.
    There is no use of any debate among leaders who are not inclusive , who are not considered to be national leaders for all.
    At the best local television networks can initiate debates among contestants for the MP seats.

  31. s.manoharan says:

    Only Tamil refugees are arriving to Tamil nadu. Since the Government of India is aiding the Sri Lankan Government against the Tamil rebels, our Indian Coast Guard is on vigil not to allow the rebels inside the Indian Territory.
    Moreover if any separatism in Tamil Nadu springs up it need not be due to migration of rebels to India but due to attitude of Indian Government in aiding a foreign country against the sentiments of its own people in Tamil nadu. That will tell the tale of yet another failure of Indian foreign policy.

  32. ray says:

    Cong has turned down BJPís offer for a live TV debate. The BJP prime ministerial candidate LK Advaniís challenged to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which was declined by congress spokesperson saying the following –
    Advani was a seasoned leader but has apparently forgotten that such TV debates do not take place in a parliamentary democracy. Advani must have been seeing the TV debates in the recent US elections but we have never had such debates in India ever since the process of elections began in this country.

  33. arpan says:

    The concept of “we can not have an open debate because parliamentary democracy does not allow open TV debates” sounds rigid to me. The kind of debate we are asking for is completely different from the US elections. We just want our leaders to come out in the open and declare their agendas and stands on important national issues. So far it was called BHASAN in our country but bhashans are one sided with no one to challenge them. Leaving it up to the people to decide what is feasible and what is not. A debate will make it easier for people to grasp who is more capable of handling current issues that are important for the nation.
    Secondly, it forces the leaders to give a public confession about their stands which can be challenged later in case they are not fulfilled. It might also help them to better understand an issue and how to handle them. Two minds are always better than one.
    I would love such debates to be mandatory for contestants from every constituency. But to begin with it will be great o see Mr. Advani and Dr. Singh to have a debate. Dr. Singh is one of the most educated leaders and I don’t remember Mr. Advani ever throwing shoes. And if any one of them does you ill know whom not to vote for…
    Its a pity that congress calls it a political gimmick instead of taking the challenge. If congress is really confident in their leadership then it will be their best chance to crush the opposition…However it will be better if the motto is not to crush each other but to have a productive debate that will help every one to know our leader better. Bhashans are easy platforms to project any one as a great balanced person but a debate is spontaneous and often more close to reality.
    I have the right to know my Priministerial candidate up close and an open debate is my only opportunity and So I will support it…..

  34. Further to my comment (#29), I would like to present a recent development – Arundhathi Roy’s efforts to shed light on the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/01/sri-lanka-india-tamil-tigers
    ..In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu the war in Sri Lanka has fuelled passions that have led to more than 10 people immolating themselves….
    It is extraordinary that this concern has not travelled to the rest of India. Why is there silence here?…
    –Arundhathi Roy.
    Mr Kapur – This is a moment for Indians to speak-out. Indian politicians (including the Tamil Indian Politicians) are busy forming alliances. Only thought leaders like Arundhathi Roy and YOU can give a voice to stop the crisis. This is a moment for all Indians to show the Tamils that they care for them and to strengthen the bond that will keep India together and stronger.
    It is the sense of unity amongst Indians that can make our nation stronger. I kindly request you to write on this issue. Thank you for your time.

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