Singapore PM says Nehru’s India is unrecognizable today

Half Lok Sabha members face criminal charges including rape and murder

Singapore, February 17 (KMS): Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that today’s India is unrecognizable from that of its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru where half Lok Sabha (lower parliament) members face criminal charges including rape and murder.

While arguing how democracy should work in the city-state during a passionate debate in Parliament, Lee Hsien Loong said, “Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder”.

“Most countries are founded and start off on the basis of high ideals and noble values. But more often than not, beyond the founding leaders and the pioneer generation, over decades and generations, gradually things change,” Lee said.

“Things start off with passionate intensity. The leaders, who fought for and won independence, are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David Ben-Gurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too,” he said.

Imbued with enormous personal prestige, they strive to meet the high expectations of their peoples to build a brave new world, and shape a new future for their peoples, and for their countries. But beyond that initial fervour, succeeding generations often find it hard to sustain this momentum and drive, Lee said.

The texture of politics changes, respect for politicians declines. After a while, the electorate comes to think this is the norm, and you cannot expect better. So, standards get debased, trust is eroded, and the country declines further, the prime minister said.

“Many political systems today would be quite unrecognisable to their founding leaders. Ben-Gurion’s Israel has morphed into one which can barely form a government, despite four general elections in two years. Meanwhile, a stream of senior politicians and officials in Israel face a litany of criminal charges, some have gone to jail.

The 70-year-old prime minister said each succeeding generation must protect and build upon the system that Singapore has inherited.

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