BJP MP Varun Gandhi today stressed on the need to infuse fresh blood from non-political backgrounds into the Indian political system. Delivering a lecture on ‘Political Reforms in India’ at the NALSAR University of Law here, Varun Gandhi acknowledged that his surname had made it possible for him to gain a foothold in politics. He added that structural changes were needed to ensure that young individuals from different social and economic backgrounds were able to effectively participate in public affairs. “The most important thing is to make Parliament a place of policy and not a space for politics. For too long in our country, inclusive politics has only been about religion, region and caste. “So, we need to have different voices in Parliament and politics. We need labour activists, NGOs, agriculturists, artisans and lawyers. In fact, we have too many lawyers,” he said.
The BJP MP also admitted that the politicians were hardly accountable to anyone. “Let’s be honest, the political class is hardly accountable to anyone. In India, we do not really know what our leaders represent. In Argentina, even for a local (public) representative, you have compulsory electoral debates which are broadcast on television. “You get to know the calibre of the leader, what he knows and what he does not,” Varun Gandhi said. “I would be honest today, if all the constituencies in India could quiz their leaders, a lot of people who are getting elected would not get elected…that is something to think about,” he added. The BJP MP further said in England, if one lakh people petitioned on a particular issue, there would have to be a debate on it in Parliament and if 10,000 people petitioned, the government had to issue a written reply.
“We should have this in India…may be, we can have a million. If 10 lakh people petition on an issue, I think (it) has merits to warrant a discussion in Parliament,” he said. In India, names opened doors, Varun Gandhi said and added, “My name is Feroze Varun Gandhi. Let’s be honest…If my name was Feroze Varun Shukla or Ahmed or Reddy or whatever…would I have become a parliamentarian at (the age of) 28 or 29…No. Would I have got a ticket…No. Would I have been invited here to speak…probably not.” “Let’s be honest. In India, names open doors. The real challenge for our politics today is that we need fresh blood from non-political backgrounds, based on ability, vision and courage,” he said, adding that most of the youngsters in Indian politics were children of present and former leaders.
“If we make all information transparent in India, we will have an almost corruption-free system. How can we make political systems more equitable and accessible is the challenge of our times,” the BJP MP said. He also spoke about the need for inclusive politics, where those who hold power should also reach out to their electoral competitors and consult them in order to serve the voters better.