Friday, November 2, 2012



As I watch with hapless amusement the LPG fiasco which is causing tremendous negative sentiment among most of the citizens, I am quite surprised as to why seasoned politicians are allowing bureaucratic bungling to proliferate and letting the situation worsen day by day.

Bureaucrats do not have to win elections. Their jobs and career progression are guaranteed. That is why bureaucrats do not have to bother about public perception.

Politicians have to be sensitive to public perception. They have to win elections every five years and cannot afford negative public sentiment.

Of course, there are two types of politicians in India:

1. Those who have to go to the people and get their votes to win elections and get elected to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.

2. Those who are nominated by their parties to the Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Councils. This second category of politicians don’t have to go to the people every five years to get elected and, like bureaucrats, they have an assured tenure, and if they remain in the good books of the party leadership then they can hope for a second or third tenure as well. Hence, like bureaucrats, they do not have to bother about public perception and they need not be sensitive to the problems of the common man.

Therefore, it is only from the first category of “elected” politicians that a common man can seek hope and redress of his grievances.

And I feel that a common man will certainly vote for the person who is sensitive to his problems.

You may say that most people vote as per “vote banks” based on caste, creed, religion, language, region etc, but sometimes an emotive issue can turn the tables and history bears testimony to this fact as there have been many occasions when even big leaders were defeated in the elections. 

An issue like price rice is certainly an emotive issue which affects every citizen and can cause immense negative sentiment which can turn the tide. The recent inept political handling of the LPG Domestic Cooking Gas issue, further exacerbated by the bureaucratic bungling (of removing subsidy, capping cylinders, blocking connections, confusion created by distributors and oil companies regarding procedures for KYC, rumours of artificial shortage and potential for black-marketing of cylinders, perpetual fear of price rise of unsubsidized cylinders, etc) is causing great harassment and anxiety to the consumers, especially housewives, and the common perception is that the government is acting in an insensitive and clueless manner, as far as this LPG issue is concerned. 

There is adage in “systems theory” – DO NOT DISTURB A SYSTEM WHICH IS RUNNING WELL.

The LPG Domestic Gas Supply System was running smoothly so it was best not to disturb it. Hence, it will be advisable for the powers-that-be to restore status quo ante.

Sometimes reversing a decision can pay dividends and in this LPG case, reverting back to the old tried-and-tested “subsidized” system will certainly undo the damage in perception and also prove that politicians are sensitive to the needs of the common man.

Many politicians and the media feels that corruption is the main issue for a common man. Yes, corruption may be an important issue but it is not the cardinal issue. As far as the common man is concerned the main issue is PRICE RISE since price rise affects each and every individual – man or woman, rich, poor or middle class.

Yes, corruption may have contributed to price rise but again the main issue is Price Rise which you experience every day as you buy things from the market for your daily use.

Of course, the bureaucrats and “nominated” politicians need not be sensitive about price rise since they don’t have to fight the next election, but I feel that those seeking election must give due consideration to this aspect. I will certainly vote for those who take tangible and visible steps to contain price rise.

Meanwhile, it may be interesting to see if there is any difference in the attitudes and actions of:

1. The Ministers from the Lok Sabha who are aspiring to fight the next election in 2014 and hence they have to be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the common man


2. The Ministers from the Rajya Sabha who can afford to be insensitive, bureaucratic and complacent since they do not have to fight elections and their tenures are assured irrespective of whether their party wins or loses in the next elections.

It is the same with the opposition parties too. Only those political leaders who have to face the electorate need to be sensitive about real ground-level issues like price rise which affect the common man (rather than engage in political one-upmanship which does not alleviate the distress of the aam aadmi).

In conclusion, I request all politicians to please take steps to contain inflation and tackle the issue of price rise. To start with please reverse the decision of capping LPG cylinders as the new system is not only causing distress to the common man but also seems to be practically difficult to implement and is likely to lead to more corruption, confusion and cause harassment to the aam aadmi.

I also hope that the opposition parties will constructively take up such practical day-to-day tangible issues which affect common citizens.

It is sad to see opposition parties wasting their energies by indulging in futile political one-upmanship on intangible matters.

It is demoralizing to see politicians create disharmony in inter-personal relationships by engaging in political duels in the media which produce no results on the ground, as far as the aam aadmi is concerned.

These negative vibes created by politics of conflict are avoidable and it will be good to see politicians synergize together and tackle the problems facing the country and alleviate the distress of the common man. I hope they focus on taking up the issues of Inflation and Price Rise. To start with, let us see all politicians get together and resolve the LPG fiasco.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a large number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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