Happy In Dependence?
This August 15, deduce the real meaning of democracy which is independent of politics
COKE OR Pepsi? BJP or Congress? Such a comparison may evoke surprise but come to think of it, the way we have only two soft drink brands to choose from, there are only two political parties to elect since others just shift their loyalties from one camp to the other. The rest have actually been Left Out (pun intended). The Indian voter seems to be too constrained for choice even as we live in a free country with more than 50 recognised political parties. Those of us who still believe in elections will again queue up next time to give their stamp of approval to the skewed choice.The benevolent dictatorship has made us forget the real role of an electorate in a participatory democracy.
Come to think of it. Even those candidates who get 25-40 per cent of the votes reach the Parliament and we fail to recognise that 60 to 75 per cent of voters actually did not want them to be there. Isn’t this electoral procedure which fails to address the sentiments of the majority of the voters faulty? In fact, one of the basic questions we all need to find answer to is: do we really need political parties?
No politics please
Despite having an elaborate framework, the Indian Constitution is silent on political parties or their role (The first and the only reference is in the Tenth Schedule, after the Constitution’s 52nd Amendment in 1985 regarding the provision of disqualification on account of defection). Political parties thrive and grow at the cost of Indian democracy and help in promotion of an organised lobby of selfish people. The spirit of the Constitution demands that good people contest elections on their own, reach the Parliament and then select a leader and work on a national agenda instead of working on the agenda of a political party.
Political parties are not regulated by any law and are not accountable to the people, the Parliament or the Constitution. Their office bearers are not always elected representatives and can even be headed by people who are otherwise disqualified to contest election. The concept of the ‘high command’ virtually puts non-elected at the helm of affairs which is against the spirit of the Constitution. The 'party whip’ chokes the very voice of the elected representatives and the pretence of being masters of their own mind is exposed. We had political parties even before independence but still they find no mention in the Constitution suggesting they were not intended to be.
After the independence, the agenda of political parties might have been guided by noble causes but current structure allows any ambitious person to rise with support of black money or foreign funding and form a political party generating nonsensical ideas and big promises.
No space for symbolism
Even fighting elections on basis of a symbol was a sly method devised to solve the problem of illiteracy instantly. This enabled the people who were illiterate to cast their vote. Since in a country like India, illiterate and unaware people are in majority and in a democracy majority forms the government, they are the people who direct the fate of the elections. As a bonus, they are also the least demanding, as they are not even aware about their natural and legal rights. They are happy with the same old but bigger promises made more persuasively every time. These uneducated or semi-educated people lack analytical skills so they become happy merely with a promise and their ire regarding unfulfilled promises can be easily tackled through new promises and/or manipulative actions.
It would be foolish to assume that the political parties always have a clear objective and a political party constitutes of like-minded people. Making assumption about any political party having a super brain (collective intelligence) working on an agenda directed only towards the welfare of State is utopian thinking. It may be advocated that every political party has its agenda for the country and comes to power to implement it. The statement is a farce. It is difficult to say that any political party which has been voted to power has done anything other than what was absolutely necessary or anything extra which could not be done had there not been that political party? All of us know the falsehood of such statements and in our sub-conscious know the reason of forming the political parties.
The real independence
The need is for the Parliament to constitute of only elected independent members. They should discuss national issues and all the members must follow the agreed objectives. Much more can be achieved if we have a national agenda to be decided and followed by those elected in their individual capacity on the basis of their personal influence among the public.
It is possible that even in such an arrangement the elected members of the Parliament may form a lobby for support on any issue and may join hands together for propagation and execution of certain ideas and ideology. This would be a healthy practice as there would be as many lobbies as there are issues and each lobby will consist of different set of members though some may be common to more than one lobby. Each member shall act according to his intelligence, understanding and conscience and shall not be legally or morally bound to support a view of any particular group or person. On the whole each member shall be acting in the best interest of the State and not a group.
The problem of illiteracy can actually be dealt with by having photographs of candidates on the EVM machines instead of party symbols.A perfect democracy requires public representatives and a national agenda not politics.Voters in such a democracy are supposed to elect the most virtuous candidate among the contesting candidates.In such an election, the candidates polling maximum number of votes in their respective constituencies can be elected to the Upper House of the Parliament and the candidates polling the second highest number of votes in their respective constituencies can be elected to the Lower House of the Parliament. The votes polled by the elected members of both the Upper and the Lower House of Parliament must not be less than 60 per cent of the total numbers of votes polled thus representing the wish of maximum voters of their constituency. If this is not the case, a re-election should be conducted.
Without any political affiliations, organisations and institutions to back these candidates, it can be safely concluded that a candidate contesting under such a scenario, and then subsequently getting a good number of votes, must be a good administrator and virtuous enough.