Monday, November 10, 2014

The Wonders of Democracy

When Mayawati became the Chief Minister of UP for the first time in 1995, PM Narasimha Rao termed the development as a “wonder of democracy”. It was an appropriate comment with reference to hitherto unknown and non-entities coming to occupy coveted positions or the other way round that powerful politicians and personalities are unable to make it at the hastings in a democratic set-up. People like Kamraj and Giani Zail Singh, and may be many more, with popular support but no formal education, could rise to great heights at the national level. On the other hand, people like Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir and Comrade Ram Kishan, in Punjab, could become Chief Ministers. It is an irony of democracy that people like Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan did not contest elections and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chief Architect of the Indian constitution, could not win any direct election. Jagjivan Ram, an able politician, in spite of his ambitions, could not become PM but unknown leaders like H.D. Deve Gowda became PM by fluke. These are the wonders of democracy. I think in politics and public life, apart from ability and opportunity, a bit of luck is needed otherwise there is no answer for unaccepted failures and undesirable successes.
Vijay Sampla at the Swearing in ceremony
The immediate provocation to write this piece is the appointment of Vijay Sampla as the MoS in the Council of Ministers at the recent reshuffle by PM Narendra Modi. The appointment of Vijay Sampla is yet another wonder of democracy. No political pundit could have thought of Vijay Sampla reaching the honors at this juncture of his career. It is certain that Vijay Sampla himself did not nurture such an ambition at the national level. But it was destined to be a different story. Vijay Sampla, 53, is a shy and low-profile leader. He is a first time MP from Hoshiarpur constituency of Punjab with no record of contesting assembly or parliamentary elections.  Vijay Sampla, a dalit face of the BJP in Punjab, is a self made man. With odd jobs both at home and Saudi Arabia, he became a successful business man while doing his work with the society as a politician. Vijay Sampla became the Sarpanch of his village Sofi in the vicinity of Jalandhar in 1998. His political fore-sight made him join BJP and become an activist of RSS, the dividends of which he is reaping now. Vijay Sampla is a dedicated cadre of the BJP and RSS with proven track record of good work from district level to state level. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Punjab chapter of BJP. He worked as Chairman of Punjab Khadi and Village Industry Board with elan. Vijay Sampla also runs an NGO called Bharat Gaurav for community services and awakening. The compulsions of electoral politics in Punjab, with more than 30% dalit population, have worked in favour of Vijay Sampla. Notwithstanding his humble educational background, Vijay Sampla showed considerable political maturity and acumen and created space for himself in the competitive political set-up.

Let us wish Vijay Sampla all success and let the wonders of democracy continue happening.

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