Standing against irresponsible policy decisions

 

“Milind effectively laid the groundwork for broader opposition within the Congress Party.”

“Legalities aside allowing convicted MPs/MLAs to retain seats in the midst of an appeal can endanger already eroding public faith in democracy.”

With this seemingly simple tweet, Milind Deora took a courageous stand against a bad policy passed by his own government. The tweet followed directly after the UPA government’s push for an Ordinance to circumvent a Supreme Court ruling that would automatically disqualify any leaders who had been charged with a criminal offense and sentenced to two or more years in prison. The second member of the Congress party to question the the process by which the Ordinance was passed, and the first to clearly criticize its actual legal and moral content, Milind effectively laid the groundwork for broader opposition within the Congress Party.

Though Milind’s view garnered considerable support, expressing it so succinctly in a public forum like Twitter represented a serious political risk, standing against the official position of his own government and party. This commitment to fairness, transparency and accountability – paired with a clear sense of public perception with regard to India’s political machinery – has become characteristic, as evidenced by Milind’s staunch support of the Right to Information Act and vocal stances on a range of issues on both the national and local levels.

Governance should take place publicly, not just behind closed doors.

Using Twitter to disseminate his views also represents an important feature of Milind’s style of governance. Rather than going behind doors to express his concerns over the Ordinance exclusively with the figures of power who helped to create it, Milind used a democratic mode of communication to express his thoughts, thereby beginning a broad public conversation that ultimately affected significant political change. The Ordinance, as Milind said in his tweet, did ‘endanger already eroding public faith in democracy.’ Milind’s tweet was more than a bold ethical stance; it was democracy in action.