(Mallika Sarabhai is an actress, activist, dancer and is contesting a Loksabha (National Assembly) seat from the Indian state of Gujarat. The opposition candidate is Lal Krishna Adwani, leader of the major political party, Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP.)

By Mallika Sarabhai

I want to begin with a simple statement. It is not meant to be provocative or quarrelsome. It is what I believe. I believe that independents are the third parties of tomorrow. This is a statement, most people do not want to accept. Because, political parties dislike independents. They believe that parties define the political, decide the fate of politics and still are the basic units of electoral politics. I want to argue that independents will slowly make a difference, they will bring a different style, a different sensitivity, a more personal concern to issues of governance, to the question of deprivation and exclusion, to the very idea of suffering.
Political parties reinforce current politics, they refuse to respond to issues of violence and corruption. They make the ordinary citizen fatalistic or cynical. Political parties feel that they must be sensitive to the public at election time. They are dense enough and large enough to be insensitive. They uphold the logic of numbers and not the logic of people. Today it does not matter, whether its right or left, they have narrowed the idea of politics and homogenised it. This is why parties can say that there are no permanent values only permanent interests. Parties do not have hearing aids which listen to the silent voices of the people. Look at Mr. L K Advani. He comes to Gandhinagar and addresses the nation. It is as if that Gandhinagar is a locality, a community, a family, a constituency hardly exists. The party leaders display an arrogance of power which the independents must resist.

Let me state clearly, that I stand as an independent knowing that I am vulnerable but recognising that vulnerability adds to my sensitivity. I do not need ten security guards around me. I think independents are constructive people, professional people who want to address problems personally and professionally. I am directly accountable, directly accessible. I am part of the people, responsible to the people and will hopefully be elected by the people. No party boss will determine my fate. No party adjustment will affect my choice. It is the logic of party politics that says that independents are destructive. I think as an independent I have a lot to offer. First, time. Two, the fact that my family has been a part of this locality and that my parents have added much to the culture and industry of it, I can identify concrete problems of particular communities. I have studied in detail the problem of children, the issues of water, the reasons why violence against women continues on and on without question and also why no one responds to corruption. There are also technical problems.

As MP, I realise, one can be the chair of the district planning board and make choices that can build up the idea of the city concretely and visibly. I have a local team which can help me do that. Gandhinagar is not just an automatic seat for an automatic man. Gandhinagar is a local constituency for a local person to address local problems with care, concern and a deep sense of participation.
I think it is the independence of the independents that will make the difference with a promise and a hope. And I stand as an independent committed to both.
Read more

Comments are closed.