ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Hawala Politics

Hawala Politics SUMAN SAHAI in her article 'Hawala Politics; A Congress Legacy' (February 3) correctly observes that "disillusionment of the people with politicians and politics is at an all-time high". According to Sahai, "the nature of financial contributions changed from voluntary donation in white money to extortion and black money", Sahai tries to explain that "the increasing political competition and the shrinking mass base of the Congress along with the other factors led to wholesale corruption and criminalisation of the political process". In the same breath she says, "the denial of funds to the opposition, its reacting with street level politics, the rising Backward Class militancy and spurious political issues like Hindutva sharpened the climate of confrontation". If Sahai is trying to prove that there is a shrinkage of the 'kitty' with industrialists who are faced with many political parties to fund, then state funding of elections is aimed at resolving this problem faced by our 'poor' industrialists. If Sahai is explaining the degradation of bourgeois politics as an outcome of election fund constraints, then it gives false hope that political parties with state funding will take up and resolve the major problems of unemployment, poverty, health care, etc. In her own example of Germany, with state funding of elections, social welfare is undergoing a cutback and unemployment is nsing, along with so-called 'spurious issues', such as neo-nazism and increasing attacks on immigrants. For Sahai, politics stands separate and above the social and economic institutions of today and thus can be treated through reform of the electoral process. Sahai forgets that it is precisely the inability of the political parties (social democrats and right- wing ones) in the present age of moribund capitalism to resolve the basic needs and aspirations of the people that gives rise to the so-called 'diversionary issues' such as Hindutva and 'hawala polities' is its logical outcome. Hawala politics therefore should not be seen as a legacy of the Congress or any particular political party.

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