Kamal Morarka : First of all the government has belatedly given out its mind of the selection of the presidential candidate. The Prime Minister should have done this much earlier. Traditionally, the president has been sponsored by the ruling party. Few times there have been elections, sometimes only formal elections, and once actual elections between two candidates both sponsored by the different sections of the Congress party, but it is always desirable that a president should be a person of stature and should fulfill other socio-economic factors; and the government should cleared its mind earlier so that there should be a consensus. As usual this government has chosen to announce it at the last moment, putting the opposition up a tree. Opposition has not been very sensible by discussing this much before knowing the government’s mind. In my opinion the choice of the government is very sober and the opposition should allow his election to be unanimous. There is no point opposing a person on the ground that he has been the part of the BJP and the RSS. Naturally, it is their government. Congress has always selected a person who has been either the part of the Congress or close to them, so you cannot change the rule midway. In my opinion the election of President should become a non-issue. The Vice-President should also be selected carefully by the ruling party, by the prime minister. A person of dignity who can lend credibility to the Rajya Sabha should be made the Vice-President.
Now comes a more serious matter and that is the agricultural sector. The suicides have been known, have been talked about but now it is spreading like a contagious disease – Jharkhand has a suicide, Chhattisgarh also has a suicide and Madhya Pradesh has a large number of suicides. This is not good, and the government must understand that 80 percent of the Indian population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture. If the agriculture sector becomes depressed or violent or unsatisfied, no law and order machinery can control the situation. Treating Kashmir problem as law and order problem is bad enough, treating Chhattisgarh as law and order problem is bad enough. The agricultural sector is far more important to the economy, and government should as I said before have a meeting of different stakeholders and knowledgeable people like M.S. Swaminathan, Y.K. Alag etc. who can lend sensible ideas to the government on how to react to the situation. I understand the government’s predicament. The kind of money that is required the government does not have, and therefore it was foolish to have raise the hope of the farmers that “we pay 50 percent more than the cost incurred on farming” as they said in the election, and later they said “we will double your income in 6 years”. These are not easily achievable targets and the government should be careful in doing further damage. Earlier the government comes to the grip of the situation, better it is for all of us.
Again this government is clumsy. The CBI has always been misused; the Enforcement Directorate has always been misused. Earlier they were only against business people or people who did not go along with the government. Now with the attack on Lalu Yadav and his family it has taken an entirely a different turn. These are very-very small issues. What is benami? India is a country totally dependent on emotions. When Benami Act was passed in 1988 when I was in Parliament and I said in Parliament it is like nominees, because all that you say in the act is the property belongs to a person in whose name it is, and the actual owners have no right. Alright! The person in whose name the property is will swear in the court that it is his property and he has given it to the actual owner. Can you control India’s emotional character? It is a silly idea. Now of course the Enforcement Directorate has Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) which is big handle, because it has got criminal powers. He can arrest people. He is scaring Lalu Yadav and his family with arrest and time in Jail. These are not sensible approach as anybody can tell. In spite of all long history of Lalu even proven guilty by some court, he wins with a thumping majority. The people have no faith in this kind of witch hunting. Earlier this government stopped being vindictive better it is.
Government officers meet me, naturally under anonymity they don’t want to be known, but they all feel vendetta has become too much under this government, though it always has been there less and more but these people are very crude, clumsy and very direct. So I don’t know who have this thinking because I think this is directly coming from the PMO. So it is doubtful whether any corrective steps have been taken, but in the long-term interest of the country and if Mr. Narendra Modi has ambitions to win elections again and again and stay in power for longer term he owes it to himself to make this country civilize and not a tit-for-tat country.