M Karunanidhi (MK) Formula of freebies and minority appeasement is taking shape as the Coronavirus of Democracy in India. Its latest impact was seen at the just released Delhi Legislative Assembly results. At a time Tamilnadu politics seems to have come out of the competitive MK Formula with the demise of the two stalwarts Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, we thought that this Formula will have its natural death. But, no, it has popped up at the nation’s capital and bestowed its benefits on the user for the second time. It is not likely to die away in the absence of constraints of the kind it had in Tamilnadu.
Freebies crunch your resources, but not so in a place like Delhi, where the Government of India is directly dealing with the upkeep of many utilities and facilities that impact the common man. As a result Kejriwal has lesser strings tied to his hands when he goes about offering everything ‘except liquor’ free (to quote Arnab’s words). Suppose Delhi is not the capital of India and the central Government has no obligation to spend on Delhi, could the voters of Delhi get the twin advantage of freebies from ruling party at the UT and world class facilities from the central Government?
Only less than a year ago the same voters gave a resounding victory to the BJP. By pushing it to the periphery now, the voter-mentality can be read well – that it is infected with MK Formula. The Delhi voters enjoy a peculiar advantage of both the bribe-by-freebie of the once anti- bribery crusader and the classy facilities of the capital city. In this backdrop Prashant Kishor advice is just a name-sake that serves no better purpose than PK adding it in his resume.
Minority appeasement, the other integral part of MK Formula has become a national norm nowadays with every party religiously following it. Whether the BJP also follows it or not is in perpetual doubt thanks to the skills of the BJP top brass! So we are left with our own assessment of the situation on how to cure our democracy from this coronavirus (somehow brought the current fad into the articleJ) and here are the remedies which most others would agree with, I believe.
· Take out the territory of the Capital city from the UT and bring it under direct control of the central government. Let the rest of the UT be made a State or merged with adjoining States. In that set up the corrupt offer of carrots can be avoided or left to the State to manage the resources by itself to pay for the development of the State. Freebies and development can’t go together. Someday the freebies have to be reduced and done away with. In the current set-up both will go on perennially in Delhi.
· Since it is difficult to re-produce Delhi –type MK Formula in other States, the Formula will be reduced to minority appeasement only, but not necessarily in Tamilnadu which had seen the advantages of the Formula wholesome. Therefore it is imperative to get the Anti-conversion Law and Uniform Civil Code in place before the Assembly elections in Tamilnadu. If we fail to do that now, we may never get another time. And none can stop Tamilnadu becoming DMK-nadu!