KOLKATA: Former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi Wednesday said money is presently the grey polluting cloud which floats overheads of political parties in the country.
Addressing the keynote lecture on the occasion of the 122nd birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at 'Netaji Bhavan' here, he said: "The five letter word money today is the grey cloud of polluting miasma (fog) which floats overheads of political parties."
Stating the "crown made of money" is now sitting on the heads of political parties, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi said, "that is a very great failure of our political leadership. The other great failure is a complete absence of mutual faith and trust."
He said the trust which marked the "equation between Mahatma Gandhi and Subhas Bose, between Jawaharlal Nehru and Bose" is conspicuous by its absence now.
"The presence of money and absence of trust are the two most important signs of the collapse of quality of political leadership in India," the historian and former Indian High Commissioner to different countries said.
In the same breath, the Gandhi grandson said "we should not blame political leaders for the debasement of polity. We are as responsible as they are. We cannot just hold our leaders responsible and absolve ourselves. We have only tolerated and encouraged vices like hunger, rising prices and corruption."
He said in the present situations, there was little wonder that street power was finding outlets today in every part of India since "it has been the experience of our people that those having been elected to office go in amnesia and hence the people think about the need to rise."
Pointing out 'cliquism' (factionalism) was in higher level in present day India than during pre-independence, he said "cliquism is just one aspect of failure of our leadership."
Stating that during the freedom struggle "there was pettiness and there were cliques as well," Gandhi said, "but now cliqism is at a higher level."
Gandhi elaborated his views stating "today in every party there is a helm and in every party there is a counter helm. Helm is about power and leadership while counter-helm is a challenge to power."
On the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Bose, he said: "Gandhi and Bose had differences - but they took the risk of keeping those differences aside, keeping to each other tuned in unconditional love and respect."
But these days mostly "we find people, especially those in positions of leadership, taking the risks of hate rather than love," he said.
In his address, West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi said Rabindranath Tagore had considered Netaji as 'Deshnayak' while Gandhiji felt "Subhas (Bose) commended affection and loyalty among all sections of countrymen and united all religious communities and linguistic groups in Indian National Army."