It's unfortunate that the frequency of 'vetti posts' has increased in this blog. But given my academic commitments and looming sense of guilt I just don't seem to have anything new and worthwhile to say.
This post is a direct lift of what I posted in a forum a couple of years ago. Someone had asked what's the best and practical method to become an MLA in India. As usual, there were some bland, "man! it's bloody clichéd" responses that said "murder at least 5 people" etc. But the truth is most of the current politicians actually have impressive credentials. No, seriously. So I though I'll post an alternative not-so-popularly-known method. It's bland in its own way, but, whatever.
Here's a practical and decent way to become an MLA or MP (takes reasonably long time and vision).
- Read extensively on history, political science and few areas of sociology and general economics.
- It's better if you can improve your language skills (both in English and Tamil or the corresponding regional language).
- Establish yourself as a scholar in some field (preferably in one of the 4 areas above)
- Use platforms such as college symposiums, book releases, religious and caste meetings and even weddings. Impress the audience with your intellect or what sounds to be intellectual prima facie (don't take controversial stands even if that's the right thing to do).
- Occasional jingoism and display of cultural pride won't hurt either (Hindu culture, Tamil culture, your caste's culture, youth culture, student culture, Indian culture - whichever works in that situation)
- Criticize only those who are potential victims (meaning, many people are likely to criticize him/her along with you - to gather mass consensus)
- Praise even the tiniest of charities done by local industrialists. Exaggerate it and project it as an inherent quality for whatever caste they belong to.
There's another thing to keep in mind: you have to analyse which party has least opposition in your constituency in that term. Ex: There's no point in pleasing an industrialist from DMK or criticising JJ when you know that DMK doesn't stand a chance in your constituency. For even if you get the chance to contest you'll end up losing anyway. So you have to strategize it right from the beginning.
To explain in detail: TN is now voting anti-incumbent like Kerala, regardless of how good/bad the ruling government is. I'm 24 now, by the time I enter politics, ADMK is likely to be the ruling party (Around 2010) - I'll be aiming for candidacy in 2016 assembly election or 2019's legislative election. DMK faces an uncertain future after MK's demise. If BJP can pull itself together before the next election it might become a stronger party on a national level (and hence improve its bargaining worth in TN). So even if I enter the political spectrum (a career meant to influence politics) I'll stay away from any party affiliation until I can judge the arithmetic reasonably well. Once I can do that, affiliation will follow suit. After affiliation you follow the steps that I had mentioned above.
If you have to win in politics you have to either gather overwhelming support of the capitalists (who are willing to invest in you with hopes of reaping it back) or gather mass support (proletariat backing). Only these two things sell in politics.
Only way to create mass support is to pander to their base instincts and idiosyncrasies such as casteist pride, cultural pride, linguistic pride and all sorts of ego boosters (or extra bonus and right to strike like the DMK did). Crowds "cannot handle the truth" unless it comes from a person of power, so you have to let your principles and morals take back-seat till you get to power.
As for pleasing the industrialists/landlords/property-owners, or the rich folk in general, you have to assure monetary benefits. As with people, even money can be tackled easily if you have power. Meaning, you need not get them contracts or push their files exactly as you promised. Now that you’re in power you have some immunity, you don’t need them anymore. Well, you do, but not so much. Just be a good leader, provide the people with visibly good governance and your support base can be shifted smoothly.
Remember, no principle is good if it cannot do good to anybody. As for politics, the only good principle is the principle that assures you victory.
There are simple methods to do the right thing and not take the blame (yes, it’s ironic). For example: You can propose a bill in favour of 69% reservation for OBCs in private companies. Talk about it in length (knowing that it's total nonsense and you're going to lose the case in the court). Once the case is lost blame the judicial system. Now, even though you did nothing for the OBCs you can lure the majority of the electorate into believing that you did something (Sounds familiar? Yes, that's what the Andhra CM did with Muslims).
For me, especially in politics, the ends justify the means and the larger good is what counts.
Of course, all this will only increase the probability of you being elected, nothing’s assured. But it’s still a very practical and adaptable method. Or You can try the unpopular yet working version of becoming a grass roots politician who starts from ‘Panchayat Board President’ and proceed from there. Or get into civil service and take the diplomatic route.