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Indian Democracy

Problems and solutions


Dedicated to Bharat Matha -
My beloved Motherland
By- Sudhakaran
Cheravattail, Narayanamangalam,
Pulloot, Pin-680663, Trichur, Kerala, India.
Preface
I have always been aspiring to hold my head high and declare to the world: I am a proud
citizen of a strong and prosperous India a Great India. But, even though we had all the
ingredients to become a world leader in almost every field, unfortunately I never got a
chance to do so yet. And it has dawned that I cannot hope to attain that cherished goal as far
as the present political system continues to exist. I am, as almost all other patriots are,
disgusted by the way our political leaders are leading us in a degenerative path from one
ridiculous fiasco to another.
Almost all of us have read many article or heard speeches or debates on the malaises of our
society; even partook in the efforts for the eradication of the perceived malaises to
regenerate the society; but have been getting frustrated by the futility of such efforts. My
argument is: all such articles, debates and efforts were targeted at the symptoms not the
cause of the degeneration; and hence the failure. All of them had been taking one or the
other symptom of the degeneration and harping up on it as if it is the biggest villain and the
basic cause of the degeneration, magnifying it out of all proportions obscuring the real
causes. My effort here is to cut down the symptoms to its real size to expose and address
the real causes.
Political instability and inefficiency are appalling. We are always in an election mood
parliamentary, legislative, mid-term and/or omnipresent by-elections, pushing all the
developmental works to backburner and wasting precious time and resources. Our chief
executive, head of the government, mostly a pawn/benami of a caucus, is inescapably
susceptible to coercion by such caucuses and pressure groups to sanction their self-serving
schemes mostly nefarious and detrimental to national interest.
Degeneration of our society is manifested in almost all fields of life. Corruption is rampant.
Our national trait has become synonymous with Sycophancy, Hypocrisy, Cowardice -
Hindu Cowardice of Khandahar fiasco fame - and incompetence. Even after 50 years of
independence illiteracy, poverty, poor-infrastructure and over all backwardness are still
poignantly staring us. A nation of abundant natural resources, a rich heritage and a billion
people has not established leave alone leadership but even a credible presence in any field
of competence among the nations. Surely we have made some progress and a few pockets
of affluence also. But that is nowhere near our potentials or the desired levels when
compared to the achievements and standards of other nations with much less potentials.
Our society is, as our politics is, a divided house today. Instead of national integration we
seems to be heading with accelerated speeds to disintegration. After the post-
Independence euphoria, when we dreamt that caste has been cast-off, the
course of democratic India has seen the resurgence of caste in the politics
through the decades, with caste awareness reaching a detrimental high in the
post-Mandal 1990s. Hundreds of regional, religious and caste groups, the disintegrative
forces, have proliferated, organized themselves as political parties and gained undue
prominence.
These parties, to create and maintain their vote banks are pandering to, adding-fire to, our
communal/regional and other savage passions of all nuances, always reminding us of
schisms of our diversity and driving wedges in these ruptures. National political parties
have degenerated to impotence and have become subservient to these small regional or
communal parties. Today there is not a single National Party that claims to have sufficient
public support, can get sufficient votes and seats, to form a government of their own.
Coalition-politics, national parties and/or governments succumbing to the
manipulative/blackmailing tactics of these divisive forces and their self serving leaders,
political instabilities and intermittent elections have become the norm of the day.
Political parties - national or otherwise - and our representative bodies at all levels, from
Panchayat to Parliament, have become a den of criminals, sycophants, and hypocrites
causing a Character-crisis in our political leadership and morale decay of the masses.
Reign of such politicians have degraded our representative bodies to ridiculously low levels
degrading it to a den of goons. Have you heard of any orderly disciplined debates on any
subject in our parliament or state legislatures in recent times? It is always pandemonium
there. Whatever the treasure bench brings the opposition objects vociferously, they call
names, even indulge in obscene acts and physical assaults, snatching papers, throwing
chairs and mikes like gang-world street fights. Walkouts in the house to deny a
meaningful debate are rather routine except when it is to approve a higher perks for
themselves. Instead of democracy it can reasonably be called a caucuso-cracy or Goonda-cracy.
Contrast this with the quality of peoples representatives and their behavior in the
concerned representative bodies of the most vibrant and strong democracy in the world, the
American contrast, even at most difficult times like Monica Levenski episode when there
were all the incentives to behave mean. This difference in the qualities and behavior of
representatives explains the difference between their prosperity and our poverty. My search
is to determine the flaw that causes such degeneration in the quality of our elected
representatives and to see how to rectify it.
Such impotent vicious leadership has caused moral decay to the society, manipulated and
compromised the integrity of the bureaucracy and even judiciary and baptized each and
every institution in corruption. Character-crisis is so poignant that common-man has lost
trust and hopes in any of the institutions and is turning to religious sects and
extremist/secessionist groups, giving ready recruits to enemies of nation.
Myself also had been dallying with the familiar view, often projected by our intelligentsia
and social leaders, that corruption, communalism, selfishness, poverty, illiteracy, etc are
the causes of this degeneration and had been seeking ways and means to neutralize them.
But those efforts and failures, of myself and of others, and related postmortems were
always leading me to few more basic questions. I myself was, like many other concerned
patriotic Indians today are, also groping in the dark for the right clues to find out the real
basic cause.
Few political events of recent past in India and abroad provided me the necessary clues to
solve this riddle. Dangerous political dramas following two successive elections (1996) in
the span of few months in Bangladesh *See indirect election in Perils of Westminster
Parliamentary System+, our own hung parliament of 1996, 13 day BJP Government, overt
and covert political dramas and two coalition governments that followed were the most
important events among them that helped me to understand the undemocratic practice of
our so called biggest democracy and the dangerous congenial flaws of Westminster
Parliamentary System. Ascendance of Mr. Bill Clinton and Mr. Tony Blair as the leaders
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of Democrats in America and Labor in Briton respectively, multitude of political parties
and resultant hung-Parliament of Hungary - which was then just five years into
Westminster parliamentary system, were other important events provided me with essential
clues. Kiran Bedis reforms of, and her unceremonious removal from, Thihar Jail,
experiences of G.K.Khairnar of Bombay Municipal Corp., Sree.Anna Hazares
Brashtachar Virodhi Andholan, JMM bribery scandal of Sree.Narasimha Rao era and
increasing number of criminals reaching our representative bodies were among many other
leads that helped me to conclude my analysis with a clearer answer: Our political system
is basically flawed and those flaws are producing all those degenerative symptoms
which our pretentious reformers and intelligentsia wrongly identify and vilify as the cause
of degeneration itself.
My awareness about the dangerous flaws of our political system that cause this
degeneration, and the appalling complacence exhibited by our demoralized socio-political
leaders and intelligentsias, were frustrating me. Concern about the degeneration and the
imminent dangers compelled me to try to do whatever I can to regenerate our society. This
book, DEMOCRACY IN INDIA - Problems and Solutions, is the product of this
concern and compulsion: a means to propagate my views. Literary works and political
campaigns are otherwise alien to my talent.
Work on this direction started immediately after our 1996 parliamentary elections. Few
group discussions were conducted and a book-let in Malayalam was printed in August 96.
Being my first effort in writing, it contained much more fat and lacked much explanation.
Also as the subject is of all-India relevance, need of an English version was felt during my
interactions with many reform-activists from other parts of India, whom I had met as part of
my efforts to convince and partner them in my endeavor to rectify the flaws in our system.
So work on this book was started in early 98 incorporating answers for commonly raised
questions and opinions came up during many discussions and through many articles by our
intelligentsia appeared in print media.
Despite my best efforts, due to my limited literary talent, I do not boast of this book to be a
work of any literary standard. I urge my readers to evaluate this book not on its literary
value but on the merit of its contents.
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Back to subject: I would compare a vibrant democracy with a multi-layered pyramid with
two doors, each with opposite characters, on each layer. Lowest layer the grass root
institutions and the apex of the pyramid with a single seat - the highest power, being the
seat of its Chief executive PM/President.
One of the door at each layer continuously attracts and filters-in the most competent ones
from the layer bellow it to govern it, and the other door continuously purge any one seen
not so competent to be promoted to the next layer during their time in the concerned layer.
So only the better keep rising while even the good fall on the wayside. This ensures
that the apex layer of the pyramid, seat of the highest authority of the institution, is always
occupied by the most competent of that society; and each layer is perpetually rejuvenated
with most competent new blood.
Unfortunately those doors in Indian Democracy are tampered to malfunction- they
have reversed their function: Attracting and filtering-in the tainted opportunistic
sycophantic lackeys only and purging any one exhibiting a grain of competence, integrity
and independence during their time at the concerned layer.
My endeavor is to expose the cause of this flaw and rectify it. I appeal for dedicated effort
from all concerned patriots to partner in this effort and do whatever they can at their level
to fulfill our cherished common dream A Great India.
Jai Hind
The human urge to go beyond what seems to be impossible, and his
perseverance to follow the cause, would lead to unbelievable achievements.
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1. Flawed General Perception & futility of the present reform
efforts
Corruption, selfishness, moral-decay, communalism, etc. are generally considered as the
causes of our societys degeneration. That is because we encounter them in our day-to-day
life and also because we are constantly brainwashed/conditioned thus by our demoralized
and institutionalized intelligentsia and media who do not dare to or are not capable to look
further than their nose. But a deeper analysis would prove that they are really just
symptoms produced by the degeneration. Even the malfunction of the political parties and
other institutions, such as the bureaucracy, security agencies, media etc., are also not the
cause but the manifestations/symptoms of this degeneration. Our political system itself, a
PSEUDO-/PERVERTED DEMOCRACY - that produces and promotes a tainted,
opportunistic, timid and sycophantic political-leadership-hierarchy, breeds nepotism and
perpetuates their reign; that cause the proliferation of political parties; that cause distortion
of the peoples verdict, instability and incompetence, is the real culprit.
It is a vicious cycle, internally producing ever-increasing acceleration for its degenerative
trajectory: i.e. a flawed system producing a vicious leadership to operate it and this self
serving leadership manipulating the system and society to fulfill their own greed, to
perpetuate their reign thus causing further degeneration. The more the degeneration the
more vicious the leadership it produces. As far as this flawed political system prevails so
far this cycle would continue unabated perpetuating reign of this genus of political
leadership, vitiating our polity further, breeding more and more corruption, moral-decay,
etc and widening further and further our religious, ethnic, regional and many other
schisms aggravating this degeneration; ultimately leading us to a civil war and
disintegration.
I have explained in the reminder of this chapter that selfishness, corruption, communalism,
etc are part basic traits of human beings more appropriately of all life forms. My
endeavor is not to rationalize or glorify all the vices in the society branding them as basic
traits, but is only to establish that: Identifying these traits as causes of our societys
degeneration and fighting them (trying to eliminate them) to regenerate our society
are futile and misleading. These traits are normally kept-in-check to a harmless limit, at
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times even sublimating them to supplement forces of progress, in healthy societies through
dexterous management and inspiration by its competent leaders.
Many reformers, unaware of this basic fact, are wasting their resources by fighting to
eliminate these symptoms/traits in their effort to regenerate our society. Many past
reformers had tried similar routes. A few of them may have succeeded in creating an
illusion of islands of hope for a short-while which too dissolved into societys continued
degeneration in the due course. Some of them understood, though belated, the irrelevance
of their platforms but are too demoralized/timid to admit it in public. My meeting on 25-7-
97 with Sree.Anna Hazare (of Brastachar Virodhi fame) is a good example for this. He
had, just before that meeting, by fasting at his village temple, forced two allegedly corrupt
Siv-Sena ministers to quit.
During our talks he admitted that the new ministers who replaced the resigned ones were
also corrupt and that ministers and other politicians in Mahatrashtra, other states and at
national level are mostly corrupt and that it is impossible for him to go on fasting to
remove all of them .and that my views are more basic and practical.
He asked for time to consult with his other trustees before declaring that corruption is just
a symptom and fighting to eradicate/control it, without addressing the cause, is futile. But
thereafter he never answered my repeated letters and continued with his hypocritical anti-
corruption platform even though its futility was exposed and understood beyond any
logical doubt during our above mentioned discussion.
Experience with T.N. Seshan, the media made paper-tiger, or self proclaimed Alsatian of
patriotism and selflessness, at his Desa-Bhakta sangamam, proved that he was not even
willing to hear anything other than that of his slogan: Fight corruption; it will take care of
everything else and that he was trying to use Desa-Baktha platform to project himself as
the only saviour.
Frustrated with the imbroglios created by our political leadership, and hypocrisies,
opportunism and futility of our reformers, few have started to advocate autocracy or
martial law. Our own short history of 1975-77 emergency era and history of our
neighbors, Pakistan and Bangladesh, should be sufficient deterrent for any sensible person
to advocate martial rule. I have full faith in Democracy. Democracy is the natural
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progression in socio-cultural evolution of human species, evolved to manage complex
modern societies. Any effort to reverse history is futile and dangerous. And political
parties are part and parcel of democracy in such a vast country like ours.
Now let me explain the factors generally projected as causes of our degeneration to
establish that some of them are our (otherwise-benevolent) basic traits and that they are
vitiated by the degenerative forces to meet their self serving agenda hence manifesting
detrimentally to the society; and that few others are symptoms produced by the
degeneration of our society itself. Also that would explain why the present reform efforts
centered on those factors do not deliver.
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1-1.
Confusing politics with Economy:
It is a common practice to confuse political system with economic policy. Whenever one
starts to talk about the political system, the one I am doing, immediately people, not only
common-man but even politically more aware (?) socio-political leaders and erudite elite
also mix it with economic issues such as poverty, social security, inflation, joblessness,
economic liberalization, etc. .
Political system means the system & ethos a society follow to decide-on/create its political
leadership. It can be a hereditary monarchy, Autocracies of any nuances, theocracy,
democracies of varying nuances etc. It has nothing to do with Economic policy.
A political leadership coming to power through any of the above political system can try
to follow any type of economic policy it desire to namely: the nearly extinct Feudalism
or its arch rival Communism, moderate Socialism or the most modern Market Economy or
a mix of any of these.
But whatever the economic policy, or any other policy such as foreign policy, science &
technology policy, educational policy, to comprehend it properly, make sufficient
modification to suit ones society, convince and take along the public with and to execute it
promptly a society needs competent leadership. I am dealing with that aspect only; i.e.
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purely/exclusively on the creation of a competent political leadership, and nothing
else.
If majority want a leadership leaning to Communism they can select one, or if they want
one which would take us back to feudalism they can do so Once such leadership is in
power it should be competent and stable enough to shape the society as per their ideas and
views.
What is the use of having a leadership with an unviable but grand vision (some times
Utopian) and who promise the sky but is not competent enough, or not willing to do
much? One who sulk at pressure or at each attack form opposition or vested interested?
A competent leader should have the ability to comprehend problems and peculiarities of
the society, to form a attainable vision and the resolve to executive it. He should be able to
convince and take the society with him in his endeavor.
So I request my readers to desist from deviating to economics. Here my sole aim is to
expose the flaws that deny our society a competent dynamic leadership and to prescribe
means to rectify them.
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1-2. Complacence/cynicism
Most common extreme arguments we hear when we talk of a degeneration and necessity
of a reform effort in our society are:
India is a great country. These are not problems to worry about. Those who project them
as danger signals of high-jacking the state by vested interests and anti-national elements,
civil war and disintegration are fear mongers with some hidden selfish motives. India,
because of its (past) greatness, will survive intact and prosper without any effort from any
body That is at one extreme.
At the other end is: Trying to reform India is futile. We, Indians, are a rotten society.
However hard you try we would never improve we, Indians, are a doomed lot. ...
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They are conveniently forgetting or feigning ignorance of the history a very short history
- of the geographic entity we identify today as India, as well as the frequent changes of
geographic boundaries in the world map. Both these opinions seem to be products of less
of ignorance and more of fear of pain/lose. Admitting existence of a problem would
automatically ask for a solution. If existence of a solution admitted it would demand an
effort to attain it. Any effort may cause some lose, pain or discomfort which they are not
willing to endure. So their unconscious-selves choose the easy way out - Ignore existence
of a problem or a solution.
Problems would always be, and had always been, there in any society irrespective of its
size and chronological or geographical location. They need solutions. And to solve
problems before it cause damage to the society it needs competent, dexterous managers.
There is nothing such as status quo in the nature. Perpetual change is its law. If
changes/solutions are managed dexterously by efficient managers a smooth transition is
possible. If problems are left unattended or mismanaged, or if changes are resisted, after a
critical limit nature would take its own course - mostly a disastrously violent one. The
bigger the society the more complex its problems would be and it would demand more
dexterity from its managers to solve them. Ours, with its vastness, countless diversities
and bursting populace, is one of the most complex societies in this world. To survive and
progress, to solve its complex problems, it demands highly dexterous positive
manipulation from most competent managers. Unfortunately managers we appoint are
almost always deficient in competence and integrity, hence their moron management is
leading us to penury and to internecine through exaggerations of the inherent schisms of
our diversity. Our enemies are exploiting this weakness to lead us to a disastrous civil war
and disintegration while our political bosses squabble on the petty politics and scams up
on scams to loot the nation.
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1-3. Awareness
Our intelligentsia points to ignorant illiterate populace as the basic cause of our
degeneration and related problems. They rant: we, Indians, with our illiterate masses,
arent
matured
for
democracy.
We
elect
the
wrong
persons
as
our
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representatives/governors because of the lack of literacy and awareness. For smooth
running of our democracy we should educate masses to enlighten them, make them aware
of...(?). Others are prescribing some minimum academic qualification for peoples
representatives to eradicate corruption and inefficiency. Many of them are trying to
enhance awareness of the masses on the fronts they think is necessary to regenerate India.
First on the prescription of academic qualification to the representatives Just look back
into the characters involved in the many scams unfolded/unfolding in political and
bureaucratic levels. Are any of them illiterate? Or look at the politicians with reasonable
education cultivating criminal nexus and using such links to terrorize opponents vote
banks. So literacy or academic qualification is not the scale of integrity. Education can
polish ones talents, give more knowledge about the world, but would not change his
innate traits. It can make a crook a sophisticated crook, it would enable one to enter into
higher echelons of the society and commit crimes of much higher proportions with a
limited impunity using loopholes in the law and society.
On the illiteracy other than the factors stated above if we look back into the history
we can see that the American society, one of the most dynamic democracies today was
much primitive than we were in 1950s, when they adopted democracy more than two
hundred years ago. Yet democracy flourished there, their society always elected most
competent leaders to lead/govern them to more prosperity the best proof that the quality
of the leadership make the difference in governance/management of the society and the
real awareness to elect the good leaders is not something someone can disseminate.
We, even the most illiterate among us, with some kind of innate animal instinct,
implicitly distinguish the virtues and vices in our surroundings. Most of the villagers
may not know much and may be illiterate but their collective wisdom is capable of
distinguishing what is good and what is not so good for them, who is trustworthy and who
is not and who is competent among them and who is not. There may be exemptions but
generally they respect the virtuous and aspire for good leaders to lead/govern them. Given
a chance with impunity, irrespective of other incentives, they would express this
discernment. They have time and again demonstrated this wisdom, and resolve to use it
judiciously, while using their voting rights to elect representatives to representative bodies.
They had thrown-out Congress, despite its money/muzzle power in 1977 for its autocratic
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tendencies and excess, and installed Janatha Party with stunning majority for the hope it
provided. But dumped Janatha in 79 for its disunity, instability and misrule, and reinstalled
Congress. Any number of similar instances of recent past, for or against a party or a leader
(at center & states), can be cited as examples.
If they have failed to install a better regime after discarding one, it was not for their lack of
awareness or resolve, but for lack of choice. They were always compelled to cast a
negative vote against incumbent misrule, because our political system always failed to
provide us with a credible alternative to exercise a positive vote.
From where the voters, even with the highest possible awareness, would elect a competent
one as his representative when the election arena is full of lackeys, sycophants and vicious
manipulators only? If we have to get desirable results after democratic elections, if we
intent our voters to elect competent men of integrity and character as their
representatives/governors, first we should make sure that the candidates in the fray are of
such qualities.
So the earlier our awareness reformers stop their pretension of being the custodian of (and
moral authority to dole-out) awareness and try to find out and rectify the flaw that devoid
our politics of men of virtues, that foster the most vicious to enter and succeed in politics,
the better for our society. If we are to survive and prosper as a democracy we should have
trust in the virtues of humanity, should learn to respect the wisdom of the society and its
willingness to express it.
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1-4. Moral decay/Low Morale
Moral decay is often projected as a cause for our degeneration. And many, especially
religious/spiritual leaders are trying to instill moral into the society.
The term Moral-decay is highly debatable as moral standards vary depending upon who,
when and where the judge is. Moral-decay, like corruption and selfishness, has been a
perpetual cry of civilizations of all ages. All religions were created to and almost all wars
in epics and mythologies were fought to restore the eroded moral standards of the
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concerned societies. Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohamed and many more lead
their followers, who transformed into new religions, in their fight (rebellion) against
perceived moral-decay of their contemporary societies. Epics Ramayana and
Mahabharatha are centered on it. Lord Krishna declared, in Geetha: Yadhahi yadhahi
dharmasya glanir bavathi Dharma samsthapanarthaya sambavami yuge yuge So
moral standards had always been under trial and efforts to restore it, albeit to an arbitrary
standard set by a reformer or those wielding power, had always been there. But the cry of
moral-decay never ceased and it would continue as long as the civilizations would.
But for Morale: In healthy society its members would have the confidence and the
boldness to fight against evils, evils in ones own perception. By evils I do not refer to the
moral standards set by the religions or other self-proclaimed guardians of moral.
Surely our society has a very low morale. We, society as a whole, are a frustrated lot,
have lost any hope/trust in our leadership and institutions, have lost courage to stand up
and fight evils around us and have resigned to submission. That has made us a society of
under achievers, under performers, hypocrites and cowards. We have lost commitment to
society. That is because we have not got any virtuous Role-models to emulate, or Icons of
stature to inspire us in our contemporary social and political leadership. Our Role-
models, social and political leaders, are the most vicious ones and many are emulating
them.
How can we have high morale when out Rajah, top political leadership shamelessly
indulge in public display of Sycophancy as was done by Mr. Zail sings while he was
President of India. He declared: I would take a broom and sweep her (Indhira Gandhis)
court-yard if she ordered me to do so!!! (see sycophancy our national trait)
Enthusiasm, courage and morality are highly contagious qualities. Men catch these
very fast from their leaders their rolemodels, their icons. So can moral-decay/low
morale be termed as the cause for our present degeneration? To the contrary, a
degenerated society is causing moral-decay, eclipsing our morale. So moral-decay or low
morale is a symptom, manifestation, of the degeneration of the degeneration of the society;
not vise-verse.
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So to conclude: Creation of a virtuous leadership is a prerequisite to the restoration of high
morale (or regeneration) in any society.
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1-5. Corruption
Our social leaders and intelligentsia have never been tired of trumpeting corruption as the
most prominent cause for the degeneration of our society. It is omnipresent. All of us are
somehow related to it as victims, acquiescent or an active practitioner. And most of us are
frustrated with its effects on our day-to-day life. Corruption is no longer taboo. It
unfortunately even appeals to substantial section of population as a means of making easy
money and to get rich quick or to avoid inconveniences. Hence we easily fall prey to this
high-pitched cry vilifying corruption as the biggest reason of our societys degeneration.
But is it a peculiar phenomenon affecting us Indians or confined to this era only? It is
perpetually universal. But its wide spread manifestation, its attaining acceptance as a
way of life is surely a symptom of ill health/degeneration.
Can it be termed as a cause of the degeneration?
It was born with the intelligent human beings (may be with much primitive life forms
also). Only its nuances have changed keeping pace with socio-economic changes. All
epics and religious books loathe it as we do today, and are full of teachings against it.
Even today, many religious, social and political leaders and reformers are, as many
before them had been, fighting it at may levels. Most of them are so fanatical on
corruption they refuse even to consider any other cause. Others, built their name, fame
and followers on anti-corruption platform (Anna Hazare, T.N.Seshan, G.K.Khairnar
etc), are afraid of losing them if they admit their platforms futility. Many celebrated
political leaders, in their crusade against corruption in their parent parties, had split
them, and formed their own parties to lead anticorruption crusade. Some of them even
won elections and made their governments promising to eradicate corruption.
(V.P.Sings Janatha-Dal is there as a classic example for everybody to judge the
hollowness of such platforms)
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If corruption was a basic cause, with all these onslaughts against it, it should have been
disappeared long ago from this world. But has corruption disappeared or at least
diminished a bit? To our frustration, not only it has not diminished a bit but has thrived,
even baptizing most anti-corruption crusaders into its fold. So, even if admitted it as the
cause - just for the sake of argument, what logic is there in hoping that our present day
crusaders would succeed to eradicate it today or tomorrow?
I dont mean to close our eyes against it or to indulge in it. It is an evil to be fought to
keep it in check so that it would not hamper the progress of the society. Competent
managers/governors and vigilant citizens in healthy societies are doing it efficiently and
silently; while most of our managers/political leaders and even pretentious anticorruption
crusaders and intelligentsia acquiesce, facilitate or practice corruption despite their
vociferous anticorruption campaigns.
I would like to stress that projecting it as the ultimate villain/cause for our degeneration or
preaching and fighting for its eradication as (sole) means for the regeneration of our
society is misleading, futile and hypocritical. By over-emphasizing on corruption, these
crusaders are not only wasting their own energy and resources but are also deflecting
our attention from the real cause: Perversions of our political system that breed
practitioners and promoters of corruption, the tainted sycophants to manage it, are
breeding corruption to ridiculously pathetic levels we experience today.
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1-6. Selfishness
Selfishness, the cause of corruption itself, a basic trait of all the life forms including
human beings is also blamed for our societys degeneration. It is an essential trait for the
survival, progress and vitality of life itself. It breeds competition for hegemony, for
possession of resources space, food, water sources, mates, etc. - essential for survival. In
the nature the most competent would grab the best and most, and the weakest are doomed
to perish starved by deprivation forced by the competing members of its on species or
preyed by predators. That is how - through survival of the fittest and allowing the fittest
only to procreate - the nature keeps inter-species balances and intra-species vitality.
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Selfishness, the very essential and basic trait, irrespective of how much we abhor it, can
never be wished away; it would be there with us catalyzing further achievements
through competition and rejuvenation in healthy and well-managed societies or
breeding degeneration and corruption in mismanaged and sick societies like ours.
Hence blindly vilifying it for all of our societies imbroglios is hypocrisy and trying to
eliminate it is futile. Dreaming its eradication is utopian. Instead our effort should be, if
positive results have to be obtained, to appoint competent men to dexterously manage our
society where inspired individual/group interests (selfishness) would be sublimated to
complement (not to detriment - as is generally the case today in India) that of society.
[I am a firm believer that Human beings through our social institutions, laws
and medical, scientific and technical advancements, especially we Indians with
our long history of civilization and rule of law, has compromised this
rejuvenating force of the nature survival of and procreation by the fittest -
causing considerable degeneration of our genetic stock]
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1-7. Communalism/Ethnic schism
Communalism, an expression of group-selfishness, is subject to all that mentioned above
about Selfishness. Identity of commune is not limited, as we generally identify, to
communities of different religions or castes or creed or ethnicity. Type of commune can
take any shape. It is just any groups with something common to identify among its
members. That identity can be ideological belief, color, culture, language, caste, religion,
region or any other factor.
Fear of the Other and the Us-versus-Them form the basis of this trait. From primitive
hunter/gatherer groups, a pack of close relatives and primitive tribes settled by the
invention of agriculture social evolution has lead us to more complex communes, i.e. from
ethnic to theological/religious communes to todays national, political/ideological ones.
These identities would keep transforming adopting new shapes and colors to keep pace
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with social evolutions. Yes, it could be united against an out side force, say a malicious
pathogen that afflict human beings, natural forces common to all of us, or an extra-
terrestrial invasion. Then humanity is one community and the other our common enemy.
If Karl Marx had incorporated a God and some rituals in his philosophy, Marxist
Religion would have been spread all over the world to become the biggest religion today.
Todays political parties can be considered as new products of the same forces that created
religions in the old days. And still there are plenty of scope for new religions.
Roots of Communalism (Religious and/or Political)
Erric Formm in his book Fear of Freedom has said: The feeling
of insecurity haunts one as one grows up from infancy to
adulthood and becomes aware of the precariousness of human life.
Many seek to overcome it through sadistic domination of others
or masochistic submission to a person, entity or an idea In
the latter, one draws strength from, and feels protected by, a
person, entity, idea or religious belief to which one surrenders ones
will and autonomy.
So it is deeply ingrained in human nature to identify ourselves with one or the other group,
be it ethnic, religious, political/ideological or of some other nuance. Interests of these
groups, and even that of intra groups, would surely contradict and it may cause fights/wars
covert or overt. Political elections are such communal tussle, adapted to be in
consonance with contemporary society and social laws. Present and history is full of such
wars - Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Indonesia, Vietnamese, Afghanis our own Bihar,
Kashmir, Naxal they are countless.
Population growth to an unsustainable level to its environment universally causes
escalations of communal violence. This phenomenon is not restricted to human beings
only but is a common phenomenon, in different nuances, to all life forms. You can see its
traces among your livestock, pets or wild animals and birds. I remember reading a
research report on primates. A group of anthropologists, in their effort to understand basic
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human traits, studying two communes of chimpanzees genetically the closest relatives of
human species - in their natural habitat reported: Members of those chimpanzee
communes were leaving quite harmoniously keeping friendly contacts. Abandoned space
and food (primary resources) avoided need for undue competition and both communities
thrived. Increased population started to put pressure on limited resources. To worsen the
situation, drought aggravated food scarcity. Small isolated quarrels related to food,
between members of opposite groups, soon escalated into a full-scale communal violence
that stopped only after the stronger group killed all males, including toddlers, of opposite
group!
I think this example sufficiently explains increased strife between different communities.
Religion/caste is used as just one identity to form a group. If those identities are not
available other identities would emerge. Even political violence are another type of
communal strives. In essence it is a struggle, competition between groups/herds, for
hegemony/turf/resources. Political power is the best resource/weapon to control all
other resources. This struggle is universally eternal. So blaming religion or caste or creed
for violence or communal schism for our societys degeneration is futile and hypocritical.
They are all part of struggle for survival/resources/hegemony.
Oblivious to this basic instinct that drives us to identify as communes, or for their over-
enthusiasm to change the natural laws, some philanthropists are trying to create a world
religion/language, or a one world Government etc Their dreams are utopian, anti-
natural hence their efforts in those directions futile. In the vastness of this world, we would
always be divided into many communes. Increased population pressure would power more
communal divisions and inter-communal struggles to control limited resources. Survival
instinct demands us (as individuals and as a society) to become more competent
commune/nation to generate more material to meet the demand of its members and to
neutralize predatory challenges of competing societies/nations to safe guard our own
resources.
In the modern healthy societies national identities have suppressed all other communal
identities. But in our case savage identities of religion/caste/region are not only getting
precedence over the national identity but are gaining strength threatening our existence as
a nation. As mentioned above political parties are also manifestation of our communal
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trait. In the modern societies healthy political parties provide alternative group
identities/rallying points away form religions/castes. But our political parties have
degraded to such pathetic levels that the society has lost trust in them. Gentle men despise
to identify with them. So peoples are automatically turning to their savage identities
reviving religions and castes with vengeance. It is high time to find factors that are
catalyzing the degeneration of our political parties and rectify them to preserve our
national integrity and to avoid petty squabbles detrimental to the progress of our society.
18. Conclusion
We, Human beings, being part of a large animal kingdom and other life forms, are liable to
all the above-said basic instincts. But what makes human species great is our attempt to
lift ourselves above the animals by consciously suppressing, and at times sublimating,
these instincts for the societys common good. These attempts will continue forever,
motivated by their competent leaders, catalyzing more social evolution and progress in
vibrant societies. Sick societies lacking such leaders of stature to inspire/motivate, by the
manifestation of those savage instincts, would slip into internecine, penury and
degeneration.
Any dream of eliminating communal forces from a society is utopian. What we can try is
to keep them in check through dexterous management and inspiring the society to grow to
identify with the greater national identity. But that needs motivation. Credible Icons and
dependable Role Models dependable socio-political institutions and competent-men of
character, integrity and stature in their leadership- are prerequisite in any society to
motivate its members. Unfortunately our socio-political horizon is devoid of anything of
stature to inspire us.
Selfish/communal interests of individuals and groups/communes do not contradict but
supplement that of a healthy society. Uncontrolled growth of corruption and manifestation
of individual and group interests contradicting those of societys are symptoms of ill
health. The disgusting factor in India is selfishness (of individual and groups) and its
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manifestations such as corruption and communal schism have grown to ridiculously
disastrous proportions that are detrimental to the national interests. Corruption has become
a way of life, has gained respect. Almost every body indulges in it as an active
practitioner, acquiescent or a willing victim. If we do not find out the root cause of this
unhealthy phenomenon and rectify it, it would keep on breeding corruption, morale-decay
etc. further and further and would destroy our society.
In the following pages I am trying to expose the real villain of this degeneration: our
flawed political system, and propose some simple ways to rectify them.
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2. Basic symptoms
Having explained why the most poignant and more attacked ill factors are not the causes
but just symptoms, secondary symptoms - to be more perfect, here I would take you a
step down further to expose 1) Character-crisis in political leadership, 2) Proliferation
of political parties and 3) Coalition-Politics, etc and how they produce/aggravate
those ill factors mentioned in the previous chapter to cause overall degeneration to our
society. Few have superficially raised concern about ill effects of these factors also
mistakenly branding them as the causes. But they, themselves being products of a pseudo-
/perverted political system, can at the best be called the Basic-Symptoms, but can not
at all be called the basic causes.
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2-1. Character crisis in political leadership.
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The individual behavior is generally influenced by the group psychology of the society.
Community leaders are role-models/icons of a society. They are the lighthouses for
direction and inspiration for the common man. Qualities like morality, self-confidence,
motivation, patriotism etc or lack of them are highly contagious qualities transmitted
mostly from the icons (leadership) of a society to the masses. History and present are full
of examples of how competent leaders motivate and manage their societies - irrespective
of how inefficient, demoralized and unorganized were it before they took-over - to deliver
good. Examples are: Reformation of Thihar Jail by Ms.Kiran Bedi and of Ralegan Siddhi
by Sree.Anna Hazare (There are examples of vicious leaders manipulating societies and
using it to fulfill their personal agendas).
Above mentioned examples also demonstrate the universal truth that entities - not only the
jails and villages, but a home or a commercial firm or a social organization or a state -
irrespective of type, shape or size of the unit - with a competent leadership normally
function competently breeding prosperity, prominence and high morale to the unit as a
whole and to its individual members. To the contrary, a similar unit and its members with
an incompetent leadership lose direction and morale, squabble, fall into ridiculous penury
and disgrace and even disintegrate or succumb to external aggression. Today we are fast
approaching the nadir of this second scenario: ...the disintegration through internal
squabbles and vulnerable to external aggression covert or overt: Kargil, Khandahar,
Kashimir, Nadapuram ...
Opportunistic pygmies incessantly indulge in ridiculous squabbles on petty issues;
whereas competent men of stature gallantly fight for noble causes but seldom squabble.
Unfortunately our society produces and promotes mostly sycophantic pigmies, never a
stalwart, to lead our institutions. Hence the incessant squabbles: between political parties,
groups, leaders in each group, police, defense, intelligence agencies, social institutions ...
religions, castes, sub-castes, regions it is omnipresent. Our enemies are exploiting this
weakness.
We, nearly thousand million people, boasting inheritance of a rich heritage, are performing
much below our potential. We have surely made some progress in the last 50 years. But
our achievements, be it in agriculture, industry, technology, arts, sports, diplomacy or any
other faculty of life, are far bellow our potentials when compared with other nations with
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much less potentials, who had been at par or behind us in 1950s and 1960s. We became a
nation of under achievers, under performers, hypocrites, cheats and beggars. We are
sending our sons and daughters abroad begging for jobs submitting ourselves to slavery,
Government is begging for help - in the form of monetary, technical, diplomatic support
form other nations, international organizations and multinationals and from individuals
even.
Devoid of stalwarts in our socio-political leadership to lead, guide and inspire us we have
made ourselves butt of international ridicule through our fiascos and hypocrisy.
Opportunistic impostors install themselves or their minion (through manipulations) in our
socio-political leadership imposing vicious role models upon us to emulate, causing
moral-decay of the society. Reversal effect of Yadhahi Raja thadhahi Praja sets off a
vicious cycle: i.e. demoralized masses accepting the opportunistic impostors as leaders,
the counterfeits getting acceptance-as or precedence-over the originals, and appointing
them to lead the society; causing further moral decay > more vicious leaders and so on.
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Hypocrisy, sycophancy & Cowardice - national traits: I have seen our people
beseeching shamelessly to many of their foreign employers, and Staff & officials at
airports and our Foreign Missions doing the same in a different way, to foreigners, even
for petty gains. Many blame poverty or insufficient salary for this behavior. May be true
partly. But, I consider, more than poverty it shows our trait, caused by low morale because
I have seen people with good education and a lot of money doing the same.
Many had resigned their good jobs back Home and took up much inferior jobs and that too
in near slavery conditions just for a bit more money. I have also seen people from other
countries doing their jobs and bargaining with more dignity for their reasonable rights
whereas most of our People beseech for petty gains but never dare to bargain for rights.
Many unscrupulous foreign employers are exploiting this cowardice of the Indian
community. How can we be bold when our political (social also) leaders, our roll-models,
shamelessly flaunt sycophancy and beseeching as their best quality for political gains?
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Our Cowardice, especially that of our political leadership, was trumpeted recently when
an ex-official of American administration exposed a shameful event, which our political
bosses tried to hide under carpet: our Defense Minister was striped, that also not once
but twice, by American security agencies during his official trips and our Government did
not dare to raise even a murmur of protest!! During the Kandhahar imbroglio, our
Foreign Minister himself traveled shamelessly to present/submit dreaded terrorists jailed
in India at the feet of the hijackers as they had ordered for!
I feel it would be worth to, more precisely it would be unfair not to, quote two grand
examples of shameless sycophancy publicly exhibited by out topmost political leaders.
Once a First Person of the Nation, head of the state, a President of India declared
publicly: I would obediently take the broom and sweep her courtyard if Madam (then
PM) ordered me to do so!!! That was sycophancy flaunted with an eye on a second term in
Rastrapathy Bhavan, which, with her mercy, she could have doled out.
More recently there was an accusation about the nationality and quality of a partys top
most leader who immediately tendered her resignation only to take back in a day or two.
In between a shameful public display of frenetic sycophancy by almost all the leaders of
the party was broadcast by the media allover the world. All the Chief Ministers belonging
to the party and the regional heads simultaneously tendered their resignation to party
saying that they are obliged to that particular individual for their positions! Without
her/him they cannot expect to manage the party, win elections !!! (Chief Ministers were
clever not to give the resignations to Governors in which case they would have lost their
jobs)
-11-2008 Dr. Manmohan Sing admitted after his appointment (pl. note it was not
election) as PM that he is indebted to Ms. Sonia Gandhi for his post not to Congress
party or to the nation!
I do not intend to evaluate the merits or demerits of Sonia Gandhi vise a verse the
accusations raised against her. My intention is to show how the political leadership
hierarchy has become a den of sycophantic lackeys. She was a newcomer to politics and
those sycophants were in the party much before she started to dream politics, even before
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she came to India. And they telling they became chief ministers and regional bosses of the
party because of her!!!
And at last we heard a Prime minister, otherwise respectable Dr.Manmohan Sing, telling
in public that he is obliged to the post to Sonia madam; and it was a factual statement!!
None is obliged to the public/citizens of India, the voters!!!
Can anybody show a better example of sycophancy anywhere else in the democratic
world? Do we need another example to understand the level of character-crisis in our
political leadership?
Also we had a president who signed the emergency declaration with full knowledge of its
dangerous ramifications. And another president shamelessly declared in his
autobiography: when Indhira came to me to sign declarations to dismiss opposition
(Janatha) rulled state governments I signed them after telling her: Morarji Bai had done a
mistake by dismissing Congress Governments in 77 and Madam, you are repeating the
same mistake. How bold a president!!! He had no guts to refuse to sign an order he knew
was wrong! How shameless to admit it and still continue to preach morality!!!
Then, if our top leaders, icons of the society, are such shameless cowards to display their
sycophancy publicly how can we behave differently? How the King so his Subjects!
Dr.Rajendraprasad had told in 1949 about our constitution: ...If our elected
representatives are (competent) men of character and integrity they can deliver good to
the society even if this constitution is defective. But if they are lacking in these, this
constitution would not help our nation. Constitution, like machines, is lifeless; it draws life
and direction form its operators..... Unfortunately operators of our constitution and
system, our elected representatives, are lacking in competence, character and integrity.
Hence the constitution is not helping us much. The only remedy lies in breaking this
vicious cycle and installing competent men of integrity and character in political
leadership. Basic Cause/flaw that produce such leadership and a simple remedy to rectify
it is explained later.
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2-2. Proliferation of political parties
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Political parties are an unavoidable part of a democracy, especially in a vast and
pluralistic society like ours, whatever its form - presidential or Westminster parliamentary
or any other system. They are supposed to act as recruiting and training agencies of
potential political leaders and vehicles to project them at appropriate levels, also as
rallying points for, and generating engines of, public opinion. But their proliferation, as is
universally true to the proliferation of any factor in the nature, is a symptom of ill health.
Today our society is afflicted by an unhealthy/cancerous proliferation of political parties.
We started our democracy with very few parties. Congress was the dominant political
force with an all-India reach/dominance that can be called a national party. Socialists,
Muslim league and Jan Sang also had some presence in the early stages. Then new parties
started to prop-up, mostly through splits in those parties. In the beginning it was a slow
process and had some ideological rationalization. Later, especially after the congress split
in 1969, it took a vicious turn; the splits gained momentum, there were not much glossing
with ideology, and worst, mostly they were to safe guard interests of a leader. Most of
them painted a communal/regional color for the splits alleged that a particular
community/region was discriminated and a political party was necessary to protect this
entitys interests. Almost every day parties are split and new ones born somewhere in the
country mostly in the name a caste, region/sub-region or just a group in the name of an
individual. That is a dangerous sign, detrimental to our national integrity. They foment
otherwise irrelevant religious/regional/ethnic passions to build/maintain their vote-banks
widening the already existing schisms of diversity or creating new divides.
Though leaders/beneficiaries of these parties may try to rationalize relevance of their party
with some lame excuses, every patriot with a bit sanity and political awareness is
frustrated with this phenomenon. When confronted with this flaw many are advocating to
ban x, y, or z party. That is a hind-sighted reaction, a thought in the wrong direction. That
would cause obstruction of fair manifestation of democracy itself. After all, who would
judge the credibility, relevance, or lack of it, of a party compared to others? Whatever the
standards prescribed to ban a party can be misused by one or the other party to ban all
others leading to a single party rule and ultimately to autocracy like our emergency
declaration of 1975. These kinds of myopic suggestions would do more harm to
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democracy than the problems it seeks to solve - like any treatment without a proper
diagnosis.
First we should try to identify the real causes for splits in parties and the forces that
provide fertile ground for these splinter groups and so many ever-germinating regional and
caste based parties to thrive. Then only we can search for a way to rectify it. My search
has identified a genetic flaw of our system as the basic cause.
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2-3. Coalition politics:
Coalitions are unnatural phenomena a Frankenstein monster. Coalitions have always had
incompatible interests, compromised temporarily for some short-term gains such political
honeymoons are unnatural, brief and self-destructive. Coalitions and proliferation of
political parties are parts of a self-accelerating vicious cycle. Too many parties produce
compulsions for coalitions and coalitions provide fertile ground for small parties and
splinter groups to thrive. Coalitions - always changing shape and size with ever-shifting
loyalties - to face elections, to form governments or to topple them are the rule of the day
in India. Today almost all parties or groups are part of one or the other coalitions.
Coalitions are reminding me of the biblical Noahs ark, where compulsion for survival
forced coexistence of otherwise eternal enemies such as: snake and frog, wolf and sheep
etc. Here also otherwise warring persons/groups join hands on a minimum program: i.e.
share power at any coast to mulct the nation. When it comes to power-sharing nothing (be
it ideology, religion, personal animosity) hinder them from being partners in a coalition.
Political leaders who form these coalitions or the social leaders and intelligentsia, who
sing alleluia to these coalitions, do not explain us of how these often ideologically
opposite groups (if at all they can boast of any ideology) would provide stable and good
governance. P.Chidambaram, finance minister in UDF Government 96-98, in an interview
on 16/2/98, admitted this absurdity: 1997 was a wasted year, we had everything going
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for it, the GDP was set for a record 7.5 percent growth. But due to the positions taken by
some political parties we could not implement our policies.
He also, afflicted by our societys hypocrisy and low morale, was not willing to ask
himself that:
Whether this damage/waste was/is limited to 1997/UF Govt. only?
Or which are the factors that force our political parties to form coalition?
Or whether there is an escape from these coalition politics and its associated
waste?
Or whose ideology, in a coalition, would prevail and whose would be abandoned?
If their ideologies are same or so insignificant to discard them at will why should they stay
separate and pollute our political horizon and our minds? No one seems willing to pursue
these questions. When it suits them to wrest power all leaders and parties, without
exception, are ready to embrace and glorify coalitions. When they fail to form one capable
of wresting power, they criticise the inconsistency of opposite coalition. That is part of our
hypocrisy and low morale.
If we are to reform our politiccs and society, we have to pin-down the flaws that compel
parties to form coalitions and share power. Then only we can rectify it. I have tried it in
the following chapter.
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2-4. Political Instability
We have experienced Governments with life of just a few days and even hours only.
Some states like Goa had a new ministry nearly every month. As you know, defection of
ruling party members or withdrawal of support by coalition partners (is not it also
defection?) is the cause for the fall of a government. Frequent changes of governments
retard our growth. Before Governments get time to study our problems, formulate policies,
execute them and enact corresponding legislative measures they are toppled and a new
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regime is installed. The new regime, mostly of the opposing parties, just out of political
animosity, discards or is not so much enthusiastic to follow up the previous governments
projects policies retarding growth and wasting our resources.
First we had the whip, itself an anti-democratic tool, to discipline members to vote along
party lines (especially during no-confidence motions to ensure the stability of a
government). That could not stop defections and fall of governments. Frustrated by
intermittent defections and resultant instabilities anti-defection law was enacted. Now it
has proved itself not only its futility but also its role as a catalyst to split parties and
accelerate their degeneration. It failed because this amendment was brought, like many
other amendments, without studying and addressing the underlying cause for the
defections; because it was a cosmetic, a reactive remedy; not a pro-active one.
Restricting members freedom to air his opinion and vote accordingly in the representative
bodies is a gross violation of the spirit of democracy itself. In developed healthy
democracies whip is used to assure the presence of a member during crucial discussion
and voting sessions. If every member has to vote as the party boss or caucus think fit then
why we should send so many members to the concerned bodies. Instead an officer bearer
of a party can attend and vote for the party his vote would have the weight/value
proportional constituencies his party won in the election. This way we should have saved
much money spent upon the army of representatives and unnecessary mostly unethical -
pandemoniums in the house.
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2-5. Intermittent Elections
Though defections and the resultant change of governments do not necessarily always
cause fresh elections, they are the only cause for unscheduled elections. Elections are the
lifeline of a democracy. A system without elected representatives to manage it, whatever
other virtues it can claim of, cannot be called a democracy. But like everything else, too
much of election too is harmful to any society.
Unfortunately, like the damage caused by hyperactivity of the life saving immune system
in allergy patients, frequent elections are now one of the biggest hurdles to our
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development. Apart from elections to the Lok Sabha elections, there are Assembly
elections in the states, elections to local bodies and omni-present bye-elections to one or
the other level of representative body. We are perpetually in an election mood.
Elections cause huge expenses. An army of bureaucrats, administrative machinery as a
whole and security personals are drawn into this exercise pushing everything else to the
backburner till the poll process is completed. Politicians of all hues and levels are
immersed in the campaign dragging with them a huge army of party workers causing so
many productive man-days. Reigning Governments are prohibited by election rules form
enacting any policy decisions. And, as stated above, developmental policies, programs and
corresponding legislations are sacrificed for, national resources wasted and growth
retarded by, these otherwise avoidable unscheduled elections.
If we have to prosper, if we are to have fairly stable governments and avoid intermittent
elections, we would have to find out the incentives/basic causes for defections and address
them.
Now the basic symptoms having defined we would try to find out the under-laying factors
creating these symptoms and prescribe appropriate remedy.
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3. Basic Causes and solutions
We have seen that Character Crisis in the political leadership is causing or aggravating
almost all ill symptoms, corruption and moral decay being most prominent among them,
of the degradation of our society; and that coalition politics and proliferation of
political parties are aggravating our communal schisms and causing political instability.
Now let us see what creates the character crisis and proliferation of political parties and
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what are the compulsions to seek/form coalitions and how to rectify these flaws. I hold
flaws in our political system, generally praised as the biggest democracy, but really a
pseudo-/perverted democracy, as the real villains.
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3-0. Pseudo- & Perverted Democracy
I would like to compare a vibrant democracy to a multi-layer institution, a pyramid, with
two doors on each layer, each with diametrically opposite functions. One of the door at
each level continuously attracts and filter-in, from the layer just below it, competent men
of integrity and character to govern it; while second door, to make space for the new
comers, continuously purge those seen not so competent during their time at that particular
level. Thus only the better keep rising while even the good fall on the
wayside. This ensures that the apex layer of the pyramid, with a single seat of the highest
authority of the institution, is always occupied by the most competent of that society; and
each layer is perpetually rejuvenated with new blood.
Unfortunately those doors are malfunctioning in the Indian Democracy - they have
reversed their function: Attracting and filtering-in the opportunistic sycophants only and
purging any one exhibiting a grain of competence and independence in the due course.
The spirit of democracy is the fierce competition to become common-mans
representative (at different levels) to govern them, and freedom of opinion. A perfunctory
analysis would produce a feeling that we have free and fair election - with too many
competing candidates and parties. And common man is not legally restricted form airing
his opinions. This conspicuous symbolism, combined with a continuous mass-
psychological suggestion - for last 50 years our own social leaders, intelligentsia and the
world had been boasting: India is the biggest democracy, is obscuring the undemocratic
manipulations in our polity. Education, age or social status is no barrier to this mass
hypnotism. So eyebrows are raised with suspicion when I say that ours is a pseudo-
/distorted democracy. I had faced this attitude even from some celebrated and erudite
social leaders, pretentious reformers, when I tried to explain my views in my efforts to
subscribe their help in my endeavor. So first let us take-up least controversial part and
analyze why ours is a pseudo-democracy and what its effects are on our society.
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I would summarize the basic flaws, the pseudo-ness and perversions, which cause this
degeneration as:
1- Negation of inner-party democracy: Breeds nepotism, sycophancy and
incompetence in political leadership hierarchy through nominations. Such
leadership breeds corruption, moral decay and inefficiency in the system
and society.
2- Indirect election of chief Executive PM/CMs: Makes this post
susceptible to coercions by tainted self-serving political pressure groups.
Causes splits in and proliferation of political parties, coalition politics and
instability.
3- Candidate/party/constituency Elections: Dwarves potential political
leaders to the smallest constituency level. Distorts proportions between true
public support/votes won by political parties and their actual representation
in the concerned representative bodies to dangerous levels.
Most important symbol of the pseudo-ness of our system is Negation of competition
a manipulation by our self-serving political leadership to strengthen their reign. Most of
the third-world nations are afflicted by such manipulation. Common-men, are regularly
called at election times to elect his representatives. This exercise exudes a feeling of real
democracy in practice. But elections are just one of many link in a chain of exercises to
elect representatives. In our system, real democratic exercise just starts and ends there
itself. All pre-/post-election maneuvers are manipulated undemocratically. Every day we
hear about Party bosses and their caucuses nominating their lackeys to different levels
of political leadership resembling an autocracy. This practice obstructs the free play of the
most vital democratic force, the competition, the spirit and the rejuvenating force of
democracy itself, which generally brings up/promote competent men from the society to
lead/govern it. So I call it a Pseudo-democracy exhibiting symbols of democracy but
obstructing it free and fair manifestation.
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3-0-a. Party whip is, as explained (in instability), another paradox exhibiting the pseudo-
ness of our democracy. Common man is free to air his opinion at will. But his elected
representatives are not allowed to air their opinion or vote according to their will. If
Freedom of opinion is obstructed where it matters most, the peoples representative
bodies, the ultimate seat of power in a democracy, how can it be called a democracy? So I
call it a pseudo-democracy.
During no-confidence votes against Mr. Deva Gowdas and Mr.Gujrals governments in
97 many congress MPs publicly expressed their frustration with this contradiction. Many
of them were against these motions. But because of the party whip they had no other way:
vote for it or lose their membership in parliament, due to anti-defection law itself a
gimmick (since proven useless) devised to strengthen hold of reigning caucuses in each
party. All of them choose to vote for it and kept their memberships. Cowardice or
political expediency what would we call it?
Mr. Sharad Pawar, Leader of Opposition then in Lok Sabha, reacting to the imbroglios of
cross voting in Rajya Sabha elections, officially admitted prevalence of this undemocratic
practice on 6-7-98: The MLAs in question are not at fault as they had handed over blank
forms signed by them, and it was the state leadership who marked votes on them! (There
are many more examples from center and states to quote, not only in Congress party, but
also in all parties)
Contrast this with practice in the most vibrant and powerful democracy, America.
1999-2000 President Clinton haunted by the Monica Levinsky episode. It went as far as
senate, where Clintons Democratic Party was a minority, debating Impeachment of
President. Few members of Democrates openly supported the impeachment move while
many Conservatives objected it. All of them voted according to their conscience, not to the
diktats of any leader/caucus Impeachment move was defeated. There was no
pandemonium in the house even during the debate on an issue where all the incentives to
be nasty were there. Each of the senators gracefully argued their case in an efficient house.
Those virtuous qualities, grace and efficiency, are alien to our elected representatives
and the house. Not a single senator from any party was subjected to any punishment for
not towing the party line.
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2008 Elections: (Big Name defections from GoP The Hindu 26-102008
Many prominent Republicans, Bushs former secretary of state Mr. Colin Powel, Press
Secretary Mr. Scott McClean, ex. Massachusetts Governor Mr. Mr. William weld.et al...
had openly supported Democratic candidate Mr. Barak Obama. A Rep. Congressional
candidate from Oregon, Mr. Joel Haugen, had expressed his preference of Obam against
Mc Cain and his opposition of Mr. Bushs policies even before his nomination and still he
won 70% of the nomination votes. But none of them were ousted from their party or
subjected to any disciplinary action or the party did not split because of their dissidence.
If our elected representatives are not free to express or vote according to their will in the
legislative bodies, then how true is the often-trumpeted freedom of opinion in our system?
How a system, which expropriates freedom of its elected representatives to express
and vote be called a democracy? Do not these restrictions make election itself a
mockery, a meaningless wasteful ritual? Why should we send so many MPs/MLAs?
Instead a representative of the party could be allowed to cast votes in proportion to
constituencies it won in elections. It would have, at least, saved time and money and
avoided vociferous squabbles in representative bodies. These ridiculer mockeries in the
name of democracy make our system a pseudo-democracy.
It is a perverted democracy because the system of elections and governance we practice
is inherited with some dangerous genetic flaws we inherited from the Westminster
parliamentary system that work against basics of democracy: i.e. The most basic
democratic right of the common man to appoint his (chief) representative/executive is
hypothecated to some middlemen by this system.
First reaction to the above statement may naturally be: It is functioning perfectly in
Briton, then why cant it work here?
First of all this feeling of perfection in Briton is a delusion. A closer look would reveal
cracks of system flaws manifesting very similarly to ours in a smaller scale (see Annex
1). These weaknesses are normally concealed by excellent maintenance by its competent
operators - their competent political leadership. They maintain this competence of their
leadership by strictly practicing inner-party democracy, which we have unscrupulously
negated. Big difference between the fairly satisfactory function of British system and
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ridiculous imbroglios of ours lies in their practice and our negation of this vital force of
democracy: inner-party democracy/competition.
Also the continuity and moral authority provided by the King and the Church is providing
a counter balance to the inherent weakness of their system, or more perfectly Westminster
parliamentary system was evolved to help their King to rule his subjects, with moral
support from a powerful church.
Any system, however effective at a particular instance of history in a particular society,
cannot remain effective forever, even in the same society, unless it is rejuvenated and
modified constantly to suit socio-political-economical changes in the course of history.
Then how this system, evolved long ago in a far, small and unitary society, can function
satisfactorily in ours which is one of the most complex and diverse societies of this
world? But our constituent assembly, after long deliberations, some how opted for
Westminster parliamentary model replacing its King with a rubber-stamp
president/governor.
Many of the members of our constituent assembly had studied in Britain or under British
system in India. They knew it was working in Briton, and its laws, then in force in India,
were also working. This knowledge and familiarity combined with the xenophobia may
have influenced their choice to zero-in on British system. Thereafter our opportunistic
politicians hold this system and constitution sacrosanct.
Interestingly Briton, birthplace of this system, has started experimenting with proportional
representation and direct election of executive head of government. Inspired by their
young Prime Minister Tony Blair, Wales and Scotland in 1997 September plebiscites
approved for elections to their new regional parliaments in Proportional representative
an un-British - system. May 98 was time for another plebiscite to give London a powerful
directly elected executive mayor.
But our hypocritical politicians are crying wolf of a suggestion for presidential form of
government / direct election. And the proponents of change has shown their opportunistic
colour by not showing sincerity to explain and convince their opponents and the common-
man about the benefits/strengths of presidential form in comparison with the hazards of
Westminster model.
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I am convinced that if we are to survive as a nation for long, if we want to save India from
disintegration, we should make sufficient changes to our system to rectify above
weaknesses. I am not dreaming a utopia. My search is for improvement to reach as close
as possible to perfection we human beings would never reach perfection. I do not
subscribe to bestowing sacrosanctity to a system or constitution. It is a continuous
progressive evolution with trails and errors.
To provide a much better system, most importantly an ever-rejuvenating political
leadership of competent men of integrity, that would strive to solve any anomalies as they
arise in our society, that would readily adopt to the socio-political and technological
changes of the society, I propose following changes to our system:
1- Mandatory inner-party democracy: to induct and promote competence in political
leadership hierarchy. To boosts public morale with such competent role models. To
eliminates splits in political parties by disappointed aspirants - by allowing aspirants to
match their comparative competence/(approval among their party members.
2- Direct election of Chief Executive: to eliminate instabilities of hung parliaments and
compulsion for coalitions, which cause proliferation of political parties. To liberate
this important position from coercions and manipulations by political power brokers,
which is a cause for corruption and criminalization of politics. To breed stability,
competence and efficiency in governance.
3- Elections in Proportional representative/List-system: to create truly proportional
representation to popular vote of each party. To eliminate coalitions and related
pampering and proliferation of regional/ethnic parties and splinter groups. To
precipitate a political polarization to two healthy parties. To avoid candidates
identifying with a particular/(small) constituency and exploiting its ethnic schism. To
project politicians to wider regions (state/national levels) helping them to grow in
stature.
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3-1. Inner-party Democracy.
Negation of this vital force Cause Character-crisis in leadership and splits in political
parties.
In a democracy, whatever the form of Government - presidential or Westminster
parliamentary or any other form, political parties are its unavoidable part, especially in a
vast society like ours. They are supposed to act as recruiting and training agencies for
potential political leaders and vehicles to project them at appropriate levels, also as
rallying points and generating engines of public opinion.
To fulfill these responsibilities Parties has to be healthy. Health of a party, or any other
organization, is a grand total of competence and integrity of its members. A political party
devoid of competent leadership, filled with opportunistic sycophantic lackeys, is unhealthy
and cannot fulfill these duties satisfactorily. Unfortunately, none of us, including ordinary
members of our political parties, are happy with the competence and integrity of our
political leadership. Worse, men/women of integrity loathe to be identified with any
political party.
If all the parties produced by a system are degenerating with such vicious leadership then
it cannot be because of a fault with a particular party or a leader. We should suspect that
there is something basically wrong with the system itself rather than with political parties
and/or their leaders. So blaming parties or politicians for our societys pathetic state and
wishing their extinction are futile. Instead we search and rectify the cause for their
degradation to todays pathetic level.
Most important factor for a functioning democracy is the belief in democracy and
willingness to practice it by the common man to political parties and Government
agencies. We, the ordinary/uncommitted voters, have time and again demonstrated his
trust and willingness beyond any logical doubt (explained in Awareness). But political
parties, the most important platforms to manifest common-mens opinion, do not show
that much enthusiasm towards democracy. Democracy, for our political leaders, is nothing
more than a slogan to disguise their selfish motives i.e. capture power or be a part of it.
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Those leaders in power never allow free and fair manifestation of democracy in their
partys internal functions. They suppress inner-party democracy by negating elections and
competition. Instead they practice nomination or manipulate elections, in the name of
consensus and discipline, to fill lower tires of leadership with their lackeys. Occasionally
we hear one or the politician, who perceive he is discriminated by the reigning
leader/caucus, calling for inner-party democracy, accusing leadership of negating it. But
once some how he is made a member of the caucus or a ministerial birth or similar
rewarding positions is doled out, his inner-party democracy concerns would fade away and
he would become an avowed practitioner of its negation.
Inner-party democracy promotes fierce but healthy competition between potential
leaders/aspirants to represent party members at different levels of party leadership
hierarchy and in elections to representative bodies from Panchayats to Parliament.
Competitions, by natures law of survival of the fittest, eliminate incompetents and
promote most competent ones to the higher echelons of party hierarchy and allow the
better keep rising while good fall on the way side. Thus it can produce virile party
leaderships and competent Governments. One who climbs leadership ladders through
competition would not be an indebted lackey of the boss. To ascend in party hierarchy by
competition one has to strive not for mercy and favour of any caucus but for approval by
party members of his better competence in comparison to ones competitors. This
eliminates any compulsion to appease party bosses or to support their undue
manipulations. Appeasement and sycophancy would really become a disqualification in a
competent society.
On the other-hand Negation of inner-party democracy allows party bosses and their
caucuses to nominate their lackeys to positions in party hierarchy. If, in any system, one
achieves authority to appoint and remove his subordinates at his will, general tendency
would be to avoid any one who is capable of posing a threat to ones own position in
future, and to indulge in nepotism or to induct ones own lackeys - inferior to himself in
competence. Competence and dissidence would never be tolerated instead nepotism,
sycophancy, compliance and loyalty would be promoted.
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3-1-1. Character-crisis: By negation of inner-party democracy our political party
machineries and hence the public offices are routinely filled with opportunistic lackeys of
party bosses or caucuses of power brokers, causing character crisis. In such situations can
we expect an organized murmur against this practice from with-in the system? Can we
expect an end to kleptocracy and inefficiency we are plagued with? Would any politician,
whose political career depends on the reigning boss or caucus, dare to raise his voice
against the wrong policies or misdeeds of that leader? Impossible.
That is exactly the curse of our society: Deprivation of competent men of integrity, the
character crisis, in political leadership to challenge the rotten system and the reign of
tainted caucuses. A political leadership hierarchy of in competent lackeys tainted
sycophants would never deliver good to the society. They would twist laws, (look to the
fate of anti-corruption, anti-defection and many other laws enacted to rectify one or the
other ills/symptoms of our degeneration), to meet their vicious schemes.
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3-1-2. Splits in parties are normally blamed on selfish motives of one or the other leader.
To the contrary, denial of proper channels to express, and strive to achieve, reasonable
selfish motives is the real cause of these splits.
All of us are, and should be, selfish and ambitious to some extend for our survival and
prosperity. Any claim to the contrary is pure hypocrisy. Any competent man would
aspire, and strive for more power in whatever field he is involved in. Unambiguous proof
that ones competitor is more competent than himself is the only factor by which a
competent aspirant can be restrained. In politics, ability to garner approval of party
members is the proper scale of competence. Members of a party/common-man always
look for competent man to lead/govern them. And they know who is competent and who is
not, who is good and who is not so good in their surroundings; they are willing to express
it given a chance with impunity. The only foolproof rout to evaluate proportions of these
approvals to different aspirants in a party is open competition and election through secret
ballots i.e. unrestricted practice of inner-party democracy.
When positions in the arty hierarchy are doled out or denied by a leader or caucus at their
will, this opportunity to compare competence of aspirants is denied. Disappointments,
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feeling of discrimination and resultant anger towards the authority are natural. Most
competent and ambitious among them would seek revenge; rally support from others
disappointed like him. Denial of democratic channels to get remedy naturally leads to
open revolt, splits and birth of new parties, weakening parent party a frequent
occurrence in our politics today. This phenomenon, combined with availability of ready
partners for coalitions at election, cause these splinter groups to thrive.
So strict practice of Inner-party democracy is a prerequisite for any democracy to
produce and promote competent man of integrity to lead it. It would also eliminate main
cause of splits in political parties. If we are to regenerate our political system and society
we would have to make inner-party democracy mandatory to all political parties.
Election commission or a similar statutory body should be entrusted to supervise its fair
and transparent practice.
It is the only sure way to induct competent men of integrity and character to the leadership
of political parties and from there to the public offices (parliament or other representative
bodies, PM/President and down to panchayaths) to dexterously operate/manage our
system. If that happens, such efficient operators, as prophesied by Dr.Rajendraprasad,
would deliver good to the society even with a defective constitution Such virtuous
leadership would recharge our lagging morale, provide credible icon to emulate. They
would be competent enough to understand any flaws in the system that hinder the progress
of the society, bold enough to expose them and take measures to rectify them. They would
not hesitate even to change the constitution or the political system itself if it is too
defective for good governance.
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3-B. Perils of Westminster parliamentary system:
Westminster model parliamentary democracy, not only in India but where ever it is
practiced, is fatally flawed having too many competing, often venal, political parties.
From our neighbouring nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal to Briton, the
birthplace of this system and many other countries all over the world are victims of this
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flaw. Hungary, a country in size just 1/30th of India and a unitary society, that started
democracy in 1990 only, has produced 26 parties and coalition governments in just 8 years
under this flawed parliamentary system! Our society, with our innumerable diversities and
vastness combined with the character-crisis in political leadership, is exaggerating
effects of this flaw to disastrous proportions. If we are to address this problem, we should
understand the inherent flaws of this system and its dynamics.
Democracy is identified with the right of the common man to appoint his chief executive
and independence of its three main pillars, namely 1- Legislative, 2- executive, 3-
Judiciary.
Westminster parliamentary system compromises both these vital fundamentals of
Democracy. It hypothecates common-mans right to appoint his chief executive to
middlemen, legislature members. Executives dependence on legislature to get appointed
and for its continuance in power makes it a subservient to legislature. Theoretically it
may be independent but in practice if executive does not heed to the wishes of majority of
legislatures normally groups controlled by one or the other caucus - they can remove it
with a no-confidence motion.
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3-2. Indirect v/s Direct Election of Chief Executive
Democracy, by its definition, is a system where common-men would appoint (elect) his
representative to govern him. Chief executive of a government (Prime & Chief Ministers
in parliamentary system) is supposed to be his chief representative, whose qualities
competence, ideologies, integrity, etc. are the most deciding factor in the quality of
governance. Competition, in direct elections, between aspirants to become common-mens
representative exposes candidates to public scrutiny, allowing common-men to evaluate
and elect/appoint the best among them to govern the society. I give credit of the vitality
and prosperity of American society to the (nearly) direct election of their chief executive,
American president.
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Westminster Parliamentary system, which is yet to complete its evolution to full
democracy, hypothecates the above-mentioned democratic right of the common-man to
some middlemen members of parliament. Firstly public, divided into many small
constituencies, elect few representatives/MPs/MLAs from each constituency through
highest popular votes. Multitude of candidates the highest often turns out to be just a
fraction of the votes polled. Then council of these representatives of majority party elects
somebody (not necessarily one among them), through an internal majority vote, as chief-
representative/Chief-/Prime-minister. Scrutiny, if any, of his qualities (or lack of it) is
limited to scrutiny by these middlemen. This system, even if worked without the influence
of any other weaknesses, practically allows one enjoying support of just more than 25% of
total elected representatives (representing much less than theoretical support of 12%
of voters) to govern the society.
This practice is a left over from the old days of evolution of British system, when the
aristocrats/lords and bishops were de-facto council members and were to recommend one
among them as Prime Minister to the King. In course of further evolution to democracy,
common-man wrestled much of the power from Lords and King and invested it on council
of their elected representatives house of commons/lower house. But they maintained
King. Instead of going for direct election, they maintained the old practice of
recommending one among them as Prime Minister. May be they were skeptical of the
common-mans wisdom to evaluate and elect the highest executive. That is why I tell that
Westminster parliamentary system is a system that assimilated much of the democratic
values but still, by denying common-men his right to evaluate and directly elect/appoint
his chief representative, refused to grow to full-fledged democracy stayed frozen in path
of political evolution.
British society inadvertently neutralize the damaging effects of this flaw by appointing
competent men, produced through uncompromising practice of inner-party democracy, as
their representatives operators of the system. Prime ministerial aspirants of each party
compete between them for the candidacy. Then members of concerned party forums
evaluate and elect one of them bringing out most competent among them as their
candidate. Then these parties face parliamentary elections under the leadership of these
(competent) prime ministerial candidates, subjecting their comparative and individual
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images to Public scrutiny. This allows British voters to evaluate and vote a party with
most competent man as Prime Ministerial candidate. Add to this a parliament with
competent men as its members.
Even though their competent political leadership tries to manage their society dexterously,
their society also could not escape from damages caused by the flaws of the Westminster
parliamentary system manifesting as:
Instability due to hung parliaments & defections: If one of the parties failed to gain
a clear majority in parliament then none is qualified to form government. Even if a
party gains majority and form Government, still it can lose majority in the house by
defections coalition partners or members of the Prime Ministers party itself.
Susceptible to manipulations & inefficiency: Prime Ministers dependence on MPs
support (especially that of coalition partners or pressure groups in his own party) to
form a Government and continuance in power allow them to exert extraneous pressure
on him to extract many concessions including ministerial posts.
Coalitions and Proliferation of political parties: In a hung-parliament two or more
parties combine their strength to produce majority for their common candidate and
form a coalition government. Coalitions give small parties power hugely
disproportionate to their strength. This power and resultant otherwise inaccessible
control of states resources are used to attract more followers to their fold allowing
them to grow in strength at the expense of main parties.
Splits in political parties: Allocation of ministerial berths being the prerogative of the
PM, and ministerial berths being limited, PM cannot satisfy all aspirants. This leads to
disappointments, internecine between those won a berth and those could not lead to
splits in the party.
But British Society manages such situation much better than ours and limit damages:
because their MPs are competent men of integrity, and are not dependent lackeys of any
leader or caucus, because they ascended in party hierarchy or gained their candidacy
through competition not through merciful nomination by any party boss, as is the case in
our system, because they are accountable to their voters not to a benevolent boss.
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Our societys Character crisis in political leadership, created by negation of inner-
party democracy, combined with our innumerable diversities, is aggravating effects
of this flaw.
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3-2-1. Evaluation of potential candidates to this all-important post: Our Prime/Chief
Ministerial candidates are not subjected to public scrutiny, as parties do not project one. A
history of our last few Prime ministerial appointments (they were not at all elections of
any sort) and removals would reveal how manipulations and sheer luck hoisted them to
and/or toppled them from this high post. Their credibility or lack of it for the post were
never debated or evaluated. Leave alone the opinions of the public, opinion of respective
party members were never sought before appointing or removing one. There were
instances when even MLAs/MPs, elected representatives entrusted to elect or remove a
Govt. in a parliamentary system, were not consulted about installation or removal of a
PM/CM.
Likes, dislikes or aspirations of one or the other caucus were the only factor that mattered
in such events. Then parties issue whips compelling their MPs/MLAs to comply with it.
Charan Sing, Rajeev Gandhi, Chandrasekhar, Narasimha Rao, Deva Gowda, Gujral all
of them were hoisted quiet unexpectedly by manipulations of one or the other political
boss or caucus, and were unceremoniously toppled when they were no more acceptable
because one was not dancing to the tune of the concerned boss/caucus. Mr.Gowda or
Gujral had never lost confidence of the ruling party, Janatha Dal or of ruling coalition,
United Front but were not fitting properly in the scheme/motives of some caucuses. Mr.
Rao was retiring from politics when he was suddenly pulled up and installed as a stopgap
PM, while aspirants/nominees of various caucuses sort out differences to propose one
among them as a consensus candidate. This process also creates disappointed aspirants,
internecine and splits in parties.
Forget about possibilities of pre-election evaluation of possible candidates by the public or
ordinary members of concerned political parties. Even professional analysts cannot do it,
as no one can predict who would be our Prime/Chief Ministerial candidates once the
elections are over. Parties seldom project one as their candidate for this post before
elections or even when project one to attract some votes on his identity (mostly communal
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in states) rarely stick to their word after elections. There is no guaranty that a nominee of
the biggest party would be appointed, it can be a nominee of any one of the coalition
partners. Coalitions are always changing shapes so it can be a nominee of any one of our
innumerable parties. And as parties germinate and change colours every day - who could
keep track of them or their leaders?
Even if somebody succeeded in keeping track of these parties, would it be feasible for any
body to collect information on all of their candidates (above 2000 for parliament) in such a
short time of 20 days or so between finalising candidature and elections? To complicate
the situation further, there is no guaranty that a party would nominate its elected member
(MP/MLA) as Prime/Chief Minister. Mr.Rao or Deva Gowda was not an Member of
Parliament when they were nominated as Prime Ministers. Think of how many voters
outside Deva Gowadas home state of Karnataka had even heard of him before he was
propped up as Prime Minister! He himself was astonished by the sudden unexpected luck
doled out to him by some political caucuses. So with out knowing whom to evaluate
question of evaluation is absurd.
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3-2-2. Inefficiency & Susceptibility to Coercion by self-serving pressure groups:
How a Prime Minister, whose survival depends on continued support of unscrupulous
egocentric MPs, always afraid of losing majority can concentrate in governance? Would
not this dependence and insecurity consume his time in planning strategies to assure
sufficient support and counter-strategies to neutralize those trying to topple him? These
fears compel PM to appease power brokers by doling-out ministries to themselves or their
nominees irrespective of their known incompetence or even criminal records and to
acquiesce their misuses of official position and corrupt practices. We are familiar with
instances of unscrupulous group leaders holding Governments (PM/CM) on ransom to get,
in exchange of their continued support, particular ministries to themselves or their
nominees, or some other concessions to meet their vicious schemes or protect their
interests.
A good example of such manipulation or the susceptibility of CM/PM to the outside
pressure is: 1996 Punjab CM had to appointed Thej Prakash Sing, S/o former CM Biyanth
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Sing, as a minister in his ministry even though Thej Prakash had not won an membership
of the legislator. Again he could not get elected to the house within the mandatory six
moths period after becoming a minister. So the caucus took a short cut: Biyanth resigned
and stayed out side for few days and CM inducted him again as a new Minister to exploit
the Six months grace period.
Also this dependence incapacitates Government from taking bold pragmatic decisions,
especially of good economics, that may not be so populist in short term. Because a section
(or most) of the legislators would not like it as a part of their vote bank would be affected.
Mr. P. Chidambaram, Finance minister in UDF government during 1996-98 admitted this
frustrating effect at the end of his tenure: 1997 was a wasted year, we had everything
going for it, the GDP was set for a record 7.5 percent growth. But due to the positions
taken by some political parties we could not implement our policies.
Prime Minister and Ministers of Finance, Industry, commerce and Petroleum had
advocated Petroleum products price increase on good economics and policy decision
taken earlier by the UDF and Government. For many months it hung fire with intermittent
declarations by ministers on the inevitability of price increase and the damage caused to
economy by illogically lower prices of some products. But nothing happened. Few MPs
supporting Government objected and Government could not amass courage to increase
prices and the left our economy bleeding because, if govt. decided to increase prices, those
MPs could have withdrawn their support causing the Governments fall.
Petroleum price decision fiasco, or Tej Prakash Sing episode were not an odd events but
almost all vital non-populist decisions had similar fate and almost all PMs/CMs were arm-
twisted to appoint members of one or the other caucus as ministers during, before and after
UDF era common during any Governments, out side India also, under this system.
I hope the above paragraphs explain reasonably how this particular practice, indirect
election of the chief executive, an inherent flaw of Westminster parliamentary system
expose the Chief executive susceptible to manipulations by unscrupulous Caucuses,
causes inefficiency, incapacitates Government from take bold decisions.
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3-2-3. Bangladesh example /Highjacking of state by vested interests: A dangerous trap
hidden in Indirect Election of PM was exposed in the event unveiled in Bangladesh
after their elections in 1996. (That was there second national election in about 6 months).
Gen.Ershad Hussain, former president, a convicted on many counts of criminal acts he
committed during his tenure and facing trail in many more cases, were in jail. Begum
Khalidas Government had even denied parole for him to partake in his Jathiya partys
election campaign. Hung parliament after elections made Ersheds Jathiya Partys 20+
seats, won under his wife Roshans leadership, a crucial factor to stop Sheikh Haseena
becoming Prime Minister, her party being four seats short of majority. Khalida and her
caucus, old military generals who were accomplices in the assassination of Mujibur
Rehman and his family members, were afraid of persecution by Haseena. To stop Haseena
from forming a Government they offered Prime Ministers post to Roshan, Ershads wife,
and offered help to withdraw all cases against Ershad if Roshan could agree for a coalition
with Khalidas party to form a Government. Luckily Roshan/Ershad did not fall in to
Khalidas trap.
Were it not similar, but successful, vicious manipulations that ostracized BJP in
1996?
Were not BJPs alliances with known criminals in UP and at center in 97 & 98
also such successful manipulations? Sree. Khushabahu Thakre glossing it as
Compulsions of Coalition Politics! Bjp had to give ministries to al 17 or so
MLAS from a party (lok Tantric Congress) to assure their support to keep others
out of power.
The above events are not odd ones but repetitions of many such past and prelude to many
future events in states and center. More disastrous recurrences of such events,
manifestation of hidden dangers of indirect election, are quite imminent.
Let me predict an extreme scenario looming dangerously if this system is allowed to
continue:
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With known venality of our politicians it would not be difficult for our enemies or anti-
national forces (ISI, Jain Brothers, Dawood Ibrahims, Chandra Swamies or the likes) to
induct 20~30 MPs as their proxies in our parliament. Consider that in a hung parliament
this groups support becomes deciding factor (even a block of 3~4 MPs can be crucial at
times) to stop Congress or BJP (or any other part) from power. In such a scenario:
Would not Congress or BJP be willing to offer them Ministries of Defense,
Finance, and Interior if they ask for them in exchange of their support to keep the
other out of power?
1996 & 98 political manipulations in Delhi, 97 of UP and many more vicious
manipulations committed by our power-hungry politicians of all colors are
pointing to this imminent danger.
What can we, the common-man do in such a situation? Nothing; it would be too late
to act.
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3-2a. Direct election of the Chief Executive eliminates any middlemen between the
voters and their chief executive. Voters directly elect their chief executive. In this system,
candidates in the fray would be the most competent among aspirants form each party
because they are the ones who attained such stature by continuous multi-layer filtration
through, and won in, inner-party elections of their respective parties.
They, one candidates each form each party, would expose each other to impress upon the
voters of their comparative credibility and competitiveness and lack of it of their
opponent. As there would be only two, at the most three, potential candidates, public and
media can concentrate on a detailed scrutiny (an for a sufficiently prolonged period from
the primaries to general election) of their images. Therefore probability is very, nearly
foolproof, that weakness, if any, would get exposed, and most competent among them
would get elected.
Once elected, nearly undisturbed tenure is guaranteed in such a system unless an
impeachment is necessitated. Even hung parliaments do not affect the stability of
Government, as it does not need any support form the legislature to continue in power. So,
any compulsions do not exist to doll-out ministries to or to patronize criminal deeds of
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tainted politicians and pressure groups for survival in power. Can select his team even
form out side politics, appoint professional from each discipline to give him counsel and to
head respective departments.
Stability and presence of professionals would produce efficient governance and prosperity
to the society and boost public morale. A vigilant public of high morale and competent
and dedicated political leadership is the best check against any evils, including
corruption, in a society.
There are not much credible reasons, such as disappointments from aspirants and
resultant grudges, to split a party.
There is no compulsion for coalitions and pampering small parties or splinter
groups. Devoid of power and pampering such groups would meet an early natural
death.
That takes away the incentive to split or form a party to fulfill ones selfish motive.
Just by changing over to a Direct election system an important cause of Corruption,
Inefficiency, morale decay and proliferation of political parties can be eliminated;
Competence and Stability established.
That is so simple!!! !!!
What we will lose in exchange is just reign of tainted political caucuses.
But beware. A presidential system devoid of the other two factors, i.e:
1 A competent leadership hierarchy elected through Inner-party democracy practices
2 A strong Two/three party system achieved through proportional representative
elections.
Would not guarantee the desired competence and stability. Many African, southeast
Asian and south American presidential regimes are examples for such undesired factors.
Equador and Bolivia were very unstable with an average life of their presidencies not
more than an year and a half since mid 1990s to 2008. (The Hindu 17-10-2008- Petro-
states and Presidential Power, lead article by Jorge Hein, Vice-president, International
Political science Association. Bolivian ambasido in India. )
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3-2a-1. Electioneering
Presently elections are conducted after resignation of a reigning Govt. There is no
transition period at all. Mostly last few months of incumbency and first few days (even
months) of new Govt. are full of confusion. Reigning Govt., for minimum more than a
month before lection, is restrained form taking policy decisions. Then to a month further
new parliament is squabbling to decide who should be coalition partners, who the PM,
then who the ministers and which portfolio goes to whom. Problems, files for important
decisions, hang fire retarding our growth and even endangering national security.
Election process starts in less than thirty days before voting. That does not provide
sufficient time for the public to evaluate their candidates. There is no debate on any issue.
A party/leader tells some thing on a stage and other party/leader tells unrelated things on
other stages, both mostly demagogic utterances. Even when any party raises any issues of
substance or accuse the other of serious omissions no logical replies are provided by the
opposite. Common-man is at lose on what to or what not to believe. Rallies and rhetoric
speeches just mesmerize and herd them to booths with out a chance for logical evaluation.
Electioneering should start much earlier than in the present system. Final election of Chief
Executive/president should complete more than a month before take-over date. That would
give sufficient time to compose ministerial team and effect smooth transition between the
out-going and incoming teams. Electioneering, declaration to approval of candidature by
election commission should be completed 60 days or more before election date to allow
sufficient time for candidates to canvass and public to evaluate. Campaigns should not be
with rallies and posters but based on debates between candidates on issues using TV as
prime medium. Inner-party election process to elect candidates from each party should
start at least another 2 months before the date of filing nominations.
Fund raising should be transparent, subjected to scrutiny by an independent statutory
authority. No amount collected without receipts bearing details to trace donors if and when
necessary. Bigger amounts, say above Rs. 1000/= or so, through cheques only. That would
eliminate influence of black money in elections.
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3-3. Election of members to representative bodies.
Whatever the system, a council of peoples representatives is a must in a democracy. It
acts as a watchdog to any access of the executive and as a legislative body. Hence election
to such councils cannot be avoided.
Perils of Candidate/Party/Constituency Simple Majority Election
v/s Virtues of Proportional Representation.
(In India, over 100 candidates often contest a single seat, and with turnouts of about 60 per cent a
candidate can win on 10 per cent of the vote. Secondly, there is no direct relation between votes
cast and seats won; in the 2005 British general election, the Labour Party won a 67-seat
majority, or 55 per cent of the seats, on 35 per cent of the vote. With a 61 per cent turnout, this
meant that only 21 per cent of the electorate voted Labour. The main opposition party, the
Conservatives, won 32 per cent of the vote but 159 seats fewer than Labour In the U.K. in 2005,
the Liberal Democrats won 22 per cent of the votes but only 62 seats; a proportional system would
have given them 143. It has even happened twice since 1945 that a British party has won the
election despite winning fewer votes than another Refer Observer research foundation report
- The Hindu 13-06-2008)
I am, like most non-partisan readers may be, totally confused at our election times: Should
I vote for an individual for his personal qualities irrespective of the party (quality of the
leadership or ideology of the party) he represent? Or should I vote for the party he
represent for its qualities irrespective of the quality of the candidate it fielded? I think this
is a puzzle without a clear answer faced by almost all sensible, politically uncommitted
voters in India or any other society that practice similar election system based on a
candidate/party/constituency. Other than this confusion there are more serious dangers
hidden in this election system.
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3-3-1. Distortion of proportions between real voter opinion and its reflection in
representative bodies:
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It is a first past the post grabs all system. A minute difference in public support causes
a party win or lose a big chunk of its candidates much disproportionate to the difference in
its public support/voter preference. Plenty of examples can be sighted in each election. In
1996 elections: Even though congress, in Thamil Nadu, bagged 24% of the popular vote it
could not win a single seat from there. Who represented this 24% Thamil voters views
and grievances in the parliament? In contrast many regional parties, from Thamil Nad and
other states, with 2 to 6 % or even less votes won seats and even ministerial births in
Central Government. Similarly when 40% congress votes could produce only 9 MPs in
West Bengal while 36% of CPM votes produced 23 MPs. Still worst, in 89 when CPM
managed to bag 27seats with just 38% votes, Congress with 41% votes had to be
satisfied with a paltry 4 seats! Or in Maharastra when 22% votes gave 18 MPs to BJP,
35% votes votes for Congress managed them just 15 MPs! 98 elections saw
Congress, turning the table against BJP in Maharastra and Rajastan with the same
tactics. When one or the other so-called national parties were back-stabbing the other
with the help of one-man parties or insignificant regional and splinter groups, such
groups grabbed seats and ministerial births at a much higher proportion than their real
strength and grew in stature, mostly at the expense of their benefactor big brother.
All the parties face this frustrating and bizarre phenomenon, caused by this faulty election
system, a dangerous genetic flaw of British system, in all election at one region or the
other. I dont see how even the most loyal supporter of this election system can rationalize
this bizarre phenomenon and its ill effects on our political parties. Most of the countries
follow similar election system. But their competent leadership, produced by the inner-
party leadership, is keeping its damages in check. There are a few nations where some
kind of proportional representation, with varying degrees, adopted to mitigate this flaw.
Few have a mixed election; i.e. councils with a portion of the members elected through
candidate/party/constituency elections (may be because they were not willing to
completely discard a system in practice) and remaining members elected through
proportional representation system. we should show courage to completely discard this
flawed election system and replace with proportional representative elections.
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3-3-2. Coalitions: Instead of rectifying this dangerous flaw of our election system, our
opportunistic political leaders were tempted to invent ways to capitalize from it.
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Unmindful of damages it causes to our society and nation, they created a Frankenstein
monster political coalitions. Through coalitions a party with a slight deficiency of
popular votes compared to its opponent party can make huge gains in its representative
strength most probably tilt the balance in opposite direction by garnering three or four
percentage votes of groups, mostly a splinter-group from opposite party or
regional/religious/ethnic groups. In the above referenced case of West Bengal CPM made
those positive differences, winning most seats with slight extra margins, helped by 5 or 6
% votes from its coalition partners. This scenario has become so wide spread and an
accepted practice of our political system that all the parties religiously practice and glorify
it as the only viable alternative. This coalition monster is degrading our national parties
through the illicit relation and nurturing the otherwise insignificant groups to undue
stature.
3-3-3. Proliferation of political parties
Parliamentary democracy is fatally flawed, not only in India but wherever it is practices,
of having too many competing, often venal, political parties. Coalitions, mentioned above,
provide these groups - otherwise insignificant regional and religious parties and splinter
groups - undeserved pampering and prominence. In exchange of a very small percentage
of votes these groups snatch benefits highly disproportionate to their popular vote strength,
such as: high number of constituencies for their candidates, ministerial births and even
constitutional amendments to suit their interests. Without these coalitions most of these
groups would have been faded away or stagnated insignificantly. But Power confers
respect, gives control of resources and power and resources attract more followers. Thus
these groups grew in strength at the expense of their own coalition partners.
Coalition politics in my home state, Kerala is a good example for this phenomenon:
For our high literacy, political awareness (quality of awareness is questionable) took root
here earlier than in most other parts of India. We started post freedom era with too many
parties, splits, coalitions, instabilities and other imbroglios identified with this system.
From 1948 to 1951 we had four ministries; and in first seven years we had seven
ministries!!
By early 50s communists had grown to challenge congress and by 1957 they had attained
a slight upper hand in popular vote and contesting without any coalition partner bagged 65
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seats against congress 43, and formed their own Government. In 1960 Congress entered
in to a coalition/seat adjustment with Muslim league and PSP to overwhelm the
Communists. (It was not the first coalition. In 1954 Communists had formed a coalition to
oppose congress). Congress succeeded to more than reversing the position: i.e. 63 for
congress and only 29 for communists. But in the course Muslim league managed 11 seats
and speaker chair, and PSP bagged 20 seats and and PSP bagged 20 seats (and Chief
Ministership also?).
1965 saw the only election without a coalition in Kerala history. Representative strength
after that election can be regarded as approximate comparative strength of parties with the
present election system. CPM got 41 against Congress 36, but most importantly
Muslim league managed only 0ne seat! But Muslim league again gained 14 seats 1967
in coalition with Marxists and 11 seats in 1970 in coalition with CPI and two ministerial
posts in both ministries. Then after each election Kerala had two fronts, one led by
Congress and other by CPM, the Marxists. Religious and regional parties, like Muslim
league, Kerala congress, etc. grew in strength with more representatives and ministerial
posts by frequently changing sides between these coalitions. It is true, with time this
degradation syndrome has not only inflicted these so-called regional and religious parties
also but it has also permeated to the smallest newborn splinter groups too.
Coalitions with DMK/AIADMK in Tamil Nad or with TDP in Andhra pradesh show a bit
more dangerous strain of this phenomenon. There the national parties, Congress or BJP (or
old Janatha Dal) had nearly renounced their right to contest for state legislatives conceding
almost all seats to the regional partner in exchange for the parliamentary seats. This gave
complete superiority, unquestionable control of state machinery and resources, and very
high visibility with so many MLSs to project its power to each and every corner of the
state. In contrast MPs of the national parties, numerically a fraction of that of MLAs, were
in a disadvantageous position compared to the regional partner. So these regional parties
thrived in to unquestionable stature and in the succeeding elections they used this stature
to grab more seats in Parliament also. With these seats in parliament they have grown to
Kingmakers or Giant-killers, strong enough to blackmail Federal Government to concede
their not-so-ethical self-serving schemes. In both these states national parties are a Big
Zeros today.
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Story is same all over India with some difference in nuances. Each of you can identify
many similar examples. This phenomenon has degraded our national parties and caused
proliferation of political parties - regional, religious and of many other nuances and
maverick splinter groups - polluting our political horizon. Effect of this flaw is aggravated
in India much more than in other societies because of our innumerable diversities.
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3-3-4. Exaggeration of our inherent schisms of all nuances, (i.e. religion, caste, region,
ethnicity etc.) threatening our national integrity, is another offshoot of this election system.
Survival instinct prompts every one to exploit as much means as one can for success in
whatever field one is involved. Winning elections are the most important mission of a
politician to expropriate political power. When a candidate is identified with a
constituency only and when his success or failure depends solely on the likes and dislikes
of its voters, it is quite natural that political parties and their candidate would be tempted
to exploit peculiarities of that constituency in their favor. Aspirants of all parties from each
constituency would be tempted to pander to the passions of concerned communities,
with whom he can easily identify, to create and maintain or increase their vote banks.
Regional, religious or other splinter groups can pursue this line without fear of losing vote
from other regions/religions/castes etc., as their vote bank is restricted to that particular
community. This phenomenon also compels national parties to field a candidate from the
deciding ethnic/communal group at each constituency. Then in election campaign each
party and candidate unscrupulously pander to passions of the concerned community to get
their votes, thus fomenting and widening schisms of our diversity. Thus these elections
are a prime cause in dividing us and compelling us to identify with a community,
reminding us our differences rather than our commonness as Indians. 50 years of
hypocritical rhetoric of national integration to camouflage their opportunistic exploitation
of caste, creed, language, regionalism and all the available nuances, our perverted political
system and unscrupulous opportunistic politicians have continuously driven wedges into
our diversities; have pushed us to the brink of civil war and disintegration. Should we
continue with this flaw to our disintegration?
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3-3-5. Dwarfing politicians to a constituency level instead of projecting them to
appropriate higher levels is another weakness of candidate/party/constituency election
system.
Irrespective of ones stature in our political leadership during elections every politician is
subjected to likes and dislikes of a small constituency. One may be a deemed CM/PM if
his party wins majority. And majority of voters in the whole state/nation may be seeing
him so, want him to lead them. Still, despite all these and more factors in his favor, if for
some reasons majority voters of the small constituency from where he has to contest do
not endorse him he cannot win the respective council seat. One should remember that in
the case of an MP this constituency is just less than half of 1/542 of the entity, nation, he is
projected to lead and the reason for the voters dislike can be his caste, religion, or some
other identity or his unwillingness to pander to the illogic aspirations of a section of that
constituency.
Mr.Achudanadans failure in Kerala assembly election of1996 is a good example for this
bizarre phenomenon. He was projected by CPM/left coalition as their Chief Ministerial
candidate. Left coalition won good majority seats partly on his passively flaunted
communal color. But Mr.Achuthandan lost at his constituency, and CPM had to appoint
another person as CM.
It can also manifest vice versa. I.e. Majority voters of the respective whole entity i.e.
nation/state may not want a person as their leader/PM/CM but may win elections from
his small home constituency and then through Machiavellian manipulations become
PM/CM to govern that whole entity. There are instances where one is even rejected by the
home constituency and the whole entity; yet got elected from another constituency where
conditions are some more favorable to become leader of the entity, nation/state. Indira
Gandhi is a classic example for this phenomenon. After her failure at her home
constituency and her partys rout (that is, in parliamentary democracy, rejection of her
leadership by nation) in 1977 national election she got elected from Chikamanglore, a safe
constituency, and became leader of opposition in parliament! Many such examples can be
traced at state levels. Can a system with such a flaw be called a democracy?
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3-3-6. Pampering ones own constituency, often misusing official machinery and public
fund, is another compulsion wrought by this flaw. As mentioned above, our survival
instinct demands us to exploit create/modify environment for our success. So if likes,
dislikes and passions of a particular constituency are critical for a politicians success it is
his duty to do what ever he can to keep it in his favor. And unscrupulous ones are
unmindful of the damages such deeds would cause to the society as a whole, or even to the
same constituency in the long run; he is just interested in the votes in next election.
Indhira and Rajive were identified, for extra attentions and favors they showered, with
Rai-Bareli and Amethy. Deva Gowda was known as Karnataka PM for his largess to his
home state, but in Karnataka itself he was known a Hassan PM for his extra pampering of
his home constituency. There are endless examples to dig out if anyone intents to. Almost
all ministers at center and states, especially in the recent past, are accused of this practice.
This flaw is compelling MLAs/MPs to attend each weddings and funerals in his
constituency. This also compel them to influence police officers to save criminals and
service department offices such as telephone, electricity and water to arrange connections
for his party men and run for many other sundry (some times illegal/illogical) demands of
their home constituency voters. This diverts their time and attention from their legislative
duties and macro problems of the state/nation, which they are supposed to study and
rectify.
This compulsion has created MLA/MP Funds and quotas in almost everything from
service connections to petrol pumps and public housing and land distribution cause of
many scams: A discrimination against aspiring politicians and misuse of public resources
to maintain vote-banks for the reigning politicians. If one fails to fulfill these needs of his
party-men they would work against him in elections diverting votes to other candidates in
next elections. This fear of rejection by voters of ones home constituency makes many
leaders to compete from some other constituencies also. Our former Prime Minister Sree
P.V. Narasinha Rao was a victim of this fear. Despite good ratings at national level as
incumbent and future PM, he had to contest from a second constituency, Berhampoore of
Orissa, for fear of alienation of home constituency voters (See Annexe 3). This is a
humiliation to our leaders, especially PM/CM posts. This flaw is hindering our politicians
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growth as a real national leader through true democratic means, always dragging them and
their priorities to home constituencies.
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MPs/MLAs Fund - denial of equal opportunity: it is supposed to spend for
developments in his constituency at a MPs/MLAs discretion. It is often utilized on
schemes to appease his voters, to maintain or increase his vote bank. This practice gives a
discriminatory upper hand to incumbent MLAs and MPs against new entrants a flagrant
denial of equal opportunity.
CAG report of 98 May-June has exposed this waste/abuse above any logical doubt. It
stated, about 80% or more of the fund was fraudulently used, mostly by unauthorized
persons, on non-developmental projects. Most of it found way to enhance the personal
comforts or bank deposits of the concerned MP or his kin. Many of the projects in this
category were mostly on non-essential ones and left incomplete. Still our politicians of all
hues have got together, forgetting all their ideological differences and animosities to raise
the fund amount to Two crore rupees from the present One crore. How united they are
when it is to enhance their perks, when it is to loot the nation treasury and mulct the
public!!
Most probable objection to this view would be: who would look after local level
problems and developments? My answer is: local developments are simply the duty of
local bodies, the Panchayats, block and District administrations. States and center have
wider and more important turfs to guard.
In a progressing and prosperous society nobody would have to influence officials to get
his due services. And any influencing, be it political pressure or bribery with money or
otherwise , is already a cognizable crime even under todays rules and regulations.
Poll Violence an increasing phenomenon: It is ever increasingly committed by opposing
candidates during electioneering to defend their vote banks, publicity materials or coerce
voters to vote him, or to scare-away potential voters of opposing candidates. If that factor,
a candidate identifying with a particular constituency (and a particular opponent), is
removed incentive for violence would automatically be eliminated saving much, money
and life, and law &order situation would improve.
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3-3-8. Instability through hung parliaments:
This is the most serious damage created by this flawed election system. Instability
syndrome has set in our system. In states it had reared its head even in early Fifties even
with a very limited number of political parties compared to todays over crowded
imbroglio. Now, with so many parties and weakening of national parties, every party and
leader is nearly convinced that era of single party rule is over and coalitions are here to
stay. Still they are not interested to explore to understand about the flaw that causes this
scenario or bold enough to consider an alternative. Or is it they want the continuance of
this system with full knowledge that it is a flawed one: because they know in a better
competitive system they cannot survive; because they know that there would not be much
room for unethical manipulations to perpetuate their reign?
With the presence of innumerable parties and political groups (no one can stop their
proliferation as far as this system exists) it is futile to expect a respite from hung
parliaments. Hung parliaments have to depend upon coalitions to form governments. That
is a vicious circle presence of so many parties divide votes necessitating pre-poll
coalitions and hung parliaments; hung parliaments facilitate participation in power for
regional/communal parties; power provide fertile soil for small parties to thrive
aggravating proliferation perpetuating instability. Change of this system is the only
escape from this vicious circle. Change over to proportional representations to facilitate
a political polarization and presidential form with direct election is the only way to
rectify this flaw.
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Proportional Representation/List system: is where each party would depute
representatives to concerned representative bodies in proportion to their popular votes.
Proportions of popular vote and representative strength would be in full consonance so no
Distortion of proportions. All the above anomalies would automatically disappear in
such an election system.
Compulsion for pre-election coalitions do not arise as each party would get its rightful
share. Without coalitions communal parties (regional, religious and ethnic) and splinter
groups cannot exploit the national parties for more seats. Without power such groups
cannot attract and maintain followers, cannot win significant representation in legislative
bodies. Hence they would dither away into oblivion causing a polarization in politics
leaving two strong parties. No need to ban any party.
Because of the prevalence of some strong regional parties it may take two or at the most
three elections to achieve this goal. Weakening or disappearance of communal/regional
parties eliminates possibilities of pandering to communal/regional passions resulting in the
reduction of communal tensions and suppression of schisms.
Proportional Representation/List system does not identify a particular candidate with
any particular constituency. Hence entire evils associate with it dwarfing politicians,
pampering ones constituency and widening communal schisms, poll violence would
automatically disappear. Aspiring political leaders and their parties would be tempted to
project themselves to, and identify with, as wider regions as they can. Pampering of any
region or pandering to passions of any community would not be of much use. In fact that
kind of narrow identity would negatively affect ones merit in a list.
But we should not to copy such systems prevailing in few other societies. We should
evolve one to suit our vast, diverse society.
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Proportional representation suitable to our society:
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Each party participating in elections should submit merit lists of their candidates for each
tire elections, produced through inner-party elections or primaries. They would depute
representatives from concerned priority/merit lists in proportion to popular votes they
gained in general elections. Party with very low (say <10%) votes should not be eligible
for representation - that is to eliminate communal/regional and splinter groups.
To get a balanced representation for different regional and ethnic sections of our vast and
diverse country, to attract new entrants into political leadership and to cull out
incompetent, I recommend a three tires list. That is:
1) One National list - mostly senior leaders already exposed and grown to national stature
with proven high degree of competence, those who had been to the house for more
than three times also can be candidate for this list. But four terms, I think, is the
maximum one should be allowed to include at this stage.
2) 4 or 5 Regional lists, dividing India into as much regions - for second tire leaders with
proven fair competence. Maximum one to be in this stage list should be limited to two.
3) Sub-regional lists, further dividing each region to smaller geographic entities (present
states) mostly for novices.
There should not be any restriction to listing in higher lists, but seniors should be bared
from listing in lower levels. This would eliminate those not so competent to fight to higher
levels from hanging on in lower tire with their limited influence obstructing entry of new
blood. Better/more competent ones should march ahead to the next tire and not-so-
competent ones should get out and give space to the new entrants to try their competence.
Deputation may be made from each list at designated ratio, say, national, regional, sub-
regional regional at 20:40:40 or 20:30:50 ratio.
Deputation would be strictly on the merit. Merit being the number of votes gained at party
primaries. Higher the votes, higher the ranks in merit list. A rank list is valid till next
general election. When any body leaves his party he automatically lose his nomination.
Any vacancies rose thus or by death of a deputy can be filled deputing next one from the
rank list of the concerned party. This avoid need for any by-elections.
Legislature can be made a continuous body, if deemed fit, half of them from each tire list
retiring at an offset. If half of them are filled with presidential elections are at each 5 years,
the other half should be filled with state Governors elections at mid-term to that of
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president presidential. Similarly half of the state councils can be filled with Governors
election and the other half with presidential or local body elections.
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5. Constitutional Review
This chapter is an addition to the original text, added to expose the hypocrisy, the lack of
comprehension by our socio-political leaders, including our President and Prime Minister,
and the pretentious-intelligentsia about the maladies of our society, and their mediocre
partisan approach towards the effort to review our constitution to remedy them.
A vituperative squabble is going-on (early 2000) on the merits and demerits of NDA
governments proposal to appointment a committee to review our constitution and the
contradicting positions taken by our President H.E. Narayanan and Prime Minister
Vajpayee on the issue.
Political instability is now projected by BJP as the prime cause prompting a constitutional
review. They, in the past, especially after the 89-91 instabilities of Janatha-Dal coalition
Government, had time-and-time-again expressed their preference for a changeover to
presidential form of Government from the existing Westminster parliamentary system.
From 1991 onwards it was a permanent feature in their election manifestos. Yet the
following statements show the confusion and inconsistency still prevailing in their views
and their inability to comprehend the weaknesses, including the cause for the instability, of
our political system. Or is not it the manifestation of blatant hypocrisy of our society?

On 11-11-96 at Desraj memorial lecture, just after the fall of his13-days
ministry, Sree.Vajpyee had riled the Westminster system and its first-past-the-
post elections for causing hung parliaments, instability and for its susceptibility
to manipulations. He championed the cause of Presidential form of government
and elections in list/proportional-representative system as a remedy.
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On 30-1-98, Vajpayee had again expressed preference for Presidential system
to give able and stable government to India but conveniently left out the
proportional representation.

On 23-1-99, addressing a seminar organized by Law-commission on its
recommendations on election reforms, he came out against its recommendation for
a partial-proportional-representation. He said: the proportional representation
system has its short-coming which could lead to centralization of control within the
political parties.

On 26-1-2000, winced by the unexpected attack by President Narayanan
against the proposal for a Presidential form of Government, demonstrating the
now-famous Hindu-Cowardice identified by Rajju Bayya of RSS, he declared in
parliament: the basic structure (?) of the constitution is inviolate implying the
sacrosanctity of Parliamentary form of government.

Govt./BJP spokes-men, Mr. Arun Jaitly and Sree.Venkia Naidu on 27-1-2000,
giving additional clarification to Vajpayees statement, said: Westminster
Parliamentary democracy has served nation well for last 50 years. So we, BJP, do
not propose to change it

Sree Advani, 2nd-in-command in the ministry and BJP, said on 26 April1998:
The Supreme Court in Keshavanand Bharti case has ruled that democracy does
not mean only parliamentary system of government. It could be presidential form
also, though both have plus and minus points He had vehemently
argued/campaigned for presidential system in 97 and 98 also.

Now, probably afraid of the opposition attack manifestation of the Hindu-
Cowardice or blatant opportunism, he also has started to glorify Parliamentary
system.
Despite this long history of their advocacy for presidential form they never came-up with a
convincing analysis to properly identify the factors they perceive as the symptoms of the
degeneration of our society, its relation to Westminster system or the comparative virtues of
presidential form of Government. So, naturally, they cannot be expected to be competent to
identify the basic causes and prescribe a remedy they have proved it through the above
said contradicting or uncommitted positions on this issue they took from time to time. And I
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am skeptical about futility of - really afraid about the adverse effects that may be caused by -
the solution their committee may come-up-with. This lack of clarity in their positions, and
the resultant utter confusion about the direction they want to take us to, have made this
belated effort to review the constitution a foregone failure before it started. It has also given
some credence to the hidden-agenda boggy raised by the vested interests who prefer to
maintain the confusion and degeneration of our society for fulfilling their personal agendas.
Congress party by their words and deeds on this issue, driven by their blind BJP hatred
and power-hunger, is not only wasting a golden opportunity to constructively guide a
national regeneration effort and retrieve some of its lost credibility in the process but also,
though inadvertently, is helping those anti-national vested interests who like to see a week
India. They seem to think that the masses have forgotten that Mrs. Indira Gandhi, whose
legacy they feign to follow, had appointed Swaran Sing Committee in 1976 to review the
constitution with the aim of switching-over to presidential form. And that this constitution
they now try to portray as sacrosanct and foolproof could not prevent declaration of her
autocratic-emergency-rule in 1975. They also are feigning ignorance of the fact that former
Presidents R.Venkattaraman from 1965 onwards and Dr. S.D.Sharma on 21-6-98, Ms.
Mamta Banarjee on 24-4-98, Sree.Vasanth Sathe and Kapil Sibal on -4-98, Mr.
A.R.Anthule on 4-2-98 and Sree Sivaraj Patil, former speaker of Lok-sabha, on 12-4-97 -
all of them congress leaders - had expressed their preference for presidential system to
rectify these imbroglios of coalition politics and its dangerous after effects.
The majority of the common-men, frustrated with the ridiculous imbroglios of our present
system are crying for a change, even though they are skeptical about BJPs motives. So this
blatant hypocrisy and opportunism of the congress and BJP leaders would further dent
credibility of our politicians. Congresss further weakening would add another
dangerous dimension lack of a credible opposition - to our societys degeneration.
First this would push the BJP leadership to complacence, embolden the fanatics in its
maverick Hindu fronts. This may lead to its weakening or even disintegration,
ultimately eliminating any national party from our political horizon. It would drive the
minorities to the anti-national fanatic organization and would lead to further increase the
regional and caste based parties clout, accelerating our disintegration.
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(Dr.Farook Abdulla on 19-1-98, Sree.Chandra Babu Naidu on 29-10-97, Prakash Sing
Badal on 21-5-98, to name few among many other influential non-BJP politicians, had also
made similar demands)
Unfortunately the proponents or the opponents of the move to review constitution never
bothered to give a convincing explanation for their respective positions. And their views
keep changing, depending on who initiate the move, not on the content of the move itself.
Lack of this commitment, I think is the manifestation of the Hindu Cowardice (Hindu
here do not mean the religion, but in its wider sense as Indians) exposed at the ridiculous
Kandahar surrender. The contrast between our cowardice and the boldness of our
enemies, highlighted by the stubborn stand taken by the Afghan Government and the
success they achieved in handling of highjack of their own flight just a few weeks later, has
rubbed more salt on to shameful wounds on our national pride.
Neither our President seems to be anything different.
President, who is supposed to remain above controversy, had jumped into take
sides in this controversy
He told on 26-1-200 at the joint session of the parliament that it is not the
constitution that has failed us but it is we who have defeated the constitution. He
added, quoting Dr. Rajendra Prasad, that the constitution failed to deliver because
of the inferior quality of its operators, our elected representatives. So there is no
need for a constitutional review.
Every patriot is concerned about deterioration of the quality of our elected representatives.
Majority of them, no doubt, are tainted opportunistic sycophants, vicious manipulators and
lackeys of one or the other caucus. Their behavior in the representative bodies is the
telling proof for their disregard to democracy and rule of the law. Instead of indulging in
gentlemanly deliberations in the house on the issues and respecting the verdict of the
majority they always resort to ridiculously acrimonious fights to physically obstruct
meaningful discussions/voting on issues they do not agree with. They have vitiated our
political environment to such disgusting levels that gentleman abhor to be identified with
any political party, thus surrendering the Political turf clear to this vicious genus of
politicians for manipulations with out fear and hindrance.
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Now being part of this controversy our President had the moral obligation to clarify the
following doubts:
1. If the constitution is so foolproof, not needing any change, how could anybody
defeat it? And why did we made 80 + changes in the past to such a constitution?
2. What are the checks in our constitution to assure the quality of our elected
representatives, which he admitted being defective? How/where those checks, if
any, failed?
3. Is not it a flawed constitution/political-system producing vicious operators to
manipulate it?
4. What else, other than a constitutional amendment (review), do he propose to assure
the quality of our elected representatives?
5. Why should he confer such sacrocanctity to constitution? To err is humane.
Were Sree. Aambedkar and co., members of constituent assembly, Supper-
Humans? Had not even its preamble altered in 1976 with addition of Socialism?
Sacrosanct Constitution!!
to be continued .
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Often raised arguments against Presidential form of Government:
Presidential form is generally projected as a system easily to slip into an autocracy. But
the America, a society with longest history of presidential system had never slipped in into
autocratic rule in its more than 200 years of practice; whereas our society, with the highly
praised Westminster System had slipped in to an autocracy in 25 years of its existence.
Our neighbor Pakistan had fell into marial law rules during the practice of Westminster
parliamentary system. Similarly there were instances of nations with presidential systems
also slipping to autocracy.
I would like to stress that any system irrespective of nuances of democracy it practice can
fall into autocratic rules by opportunistic politicians or military bosses if it lacks proper
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checks. Most important check is a hierarchy of competent political leadership. Our own
1975 experience was facilitated by the absence of competent second and third or lower
leadership in congress. Indhira Gandhi had purged all those capable of standing up against
her through 1969 coup and thereafter filled up all the leadership hierarchy by her lackeys
through nominations thereafter.
. To be Continued
Annexe-1
Conservatives and labour had been the dominant forces in their politics. Even thought
small parties had formed now and then they have failed to take root and grow (except an
occasional spurt by Liberal Democrats) to threaten the main patties. Unitary character and
comparatively smaller size of British society can be attributed for this. Yet many parties
(7+) have kept their presence to nag the stability of governments. Briton also had
produced hung parliament during 1976-79 when the labour Govt., always under threat of
being toppled, survived on the mercy of one or the other minor parties. Last parliament
was hanging on a paper-thin majority saved by the fractured opposition of seven parties.
One treasury MP exploited this situation, during a no confidence vote, to extract a huge
loan for his home constituency (not for his personal use because he was elected and
accountable to his party workers at that constituency) in exchange of his continued support
for Govt. An opposition party with just nine MPs, UU, had extracted their pound of flesh
for abstaining from no vote. And the party whips had used nasty tricks, comparable to
our JMM and many other vote buying episodes, by abusing pairing arrangements to hang
on to power.
By the way I am of the view that Britain has never grown to a full democracy. Its present
parliament is the continuity of an advisory council of church leaders and lords constituted
to help the King. Gradually it grew in size and power acquiring many modern democratic
values. But it never dumped its advisory structure and the King; or modified its old
representation norms. Refused to grow to a full democracy.
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With all these inherent weakness their political leaders have succeeded in providing stable
and efficient Governance. With similar systems, how they are producing competent
leadership while we do just opposite by electing the self-seeking opportunistic sycophants
and lackeys causing character crisis in leadership and moral-decay of mass? Political
parties in Briton had been practising strict inner-party democracy, the rejuvenating life-
blood and oxygen of democracy itself. As the practice is the law there they still are
following it uncompromisingly. It was vividly demonstrated just before their last election.
Party bosses were not much interested to give a ticket to sleaze case fame Mr.?Heseltine.
He insisted on his candidature and conservative members of his constituency elected him
at party primary as their candidate. This practice of fierce competition, not sycophancy
like ours, to become the leader is attracting competent men to the political leadership,
producing efficient operators to operate their society. Also the church and the King, weak
though, are providing a continuity and moral authority. Above all, compared to ours,
Briton is a nearly unitary society in all aspects: Culturally, linguistically, geographically
and religiously it is nearly unitary.
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Annex 2
For nearly two decades after independence our system also worked nearly flawlessly,
mostly because of the presence of competent men of integrity and character, the dedicated
freedom fighters, in considerable strength in congress and other parties. Inner-party
democracy was in practice (limited, camouflaged, manipulations were always there).
Hence splits in parties on personal ambitions were unheard of. In the final days of Nehru
era back, room intrigues started to rare their head through now infamous Kamaraj plan.
Things took a sudden bad turn with the 1969 split in the congress, which purged old
guards; more exactly old guards purged Indhira, from Congress. Mrs.Indhira Gandhi, the
charismatic demagogue, managed to attract youths with her populist gimmicks to establish
her own party. In her party, todays Congress (I), she (who championed vote of
conscience in pre-split presidential election, in the name of democracy) replaced inner-
party democracy with strong-arm tactics and back room intrigues in party affairs to
marginalize any rising challengers to assure her and her familys continued hegemony.
Congress being the dominant force then in our political horizon, almost all other
parties and leaders began to emulate all that was happening in congress. In due course
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the term Inner-party democracy became bete-noire to our political leaders of all hues.
Back room intrigues and strong-arm tactics, nominations and manipulations in the name of
consensus, got established as the norm. And slowly the character crisis in the political
leader ships set-in filling them with the lackeys of one or the other leader and their
caucuses.
There is no use of blaming anybody, even Indhira Gandhi, for she was a just a medium -
not the cause. She was utilizing facilities allowed by the laws and regulations of the land
(or its absence) to ensure her hegemony. No doubt, if she was more self-disciplined, she
should have avoided this, used her leadership abilities to plug this loophole. As human
beings, with our in-built selfishness, any ambitious leader would have done the same in
similar circumstances.
Lallo Yadhav and Bal Thackrey poignantly declared this weakness of the law just before
1998 general elections by refusing to hold elections in their parties. When compelled they
and many other party leaders, including that of Congress, made a mockery of elections by
nominating their lackeys to form an electoral collage and and such body electing him/them
as the leaders of the party. Really Indiara Gandhi was one of the most competent
manipulators of our contemporary politics.
If proper barriers were in our constitution to inhibit her from the undemocratic
manoeuvres, if Congress party was able to maintain a competent second tire leadership to
check her excesses, her manipulative abilities would have produced many fantastic
positive results to the benefit of the nation and the society. The curse was that she, with
her paranoia, used this weakness in our constitution inner-party democracy not being
mandatory or constitution being mum on the function of political parties - to purge any
potential challengers to her position. Only leader left in congress was Indiara, the Queen,
all others were reduced to her subjects, her lackeys.
This phenomenon percolated to the grass root for the lackeys at the top of each tire shown
intolerance to any competence bellow them. Emulating their leader, the icon, annihilation
of competence by back room intrigues became the rule rather than exception.
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Annexe 3
Rao was unable to visit his constituency frequently and attend day-to-day needs of its
residents. He was fully occupied with very critical national problems: saving India from
disintegration. He took power at a very critical time of our nation. Rajive Gandhi had just
dead. Congress, his party, was a rotten lot with no leader to look up on and with so many
impostors surreptitiously vying for the coveted post, shying away from direct competition
but with daggers drawn to stab challengers from behind. Janatha Dal had proved they
couldnt be alternative to Congress. There was not a party even as strong as the degraded
and disoriented Congress to take up the responsibility of Governing India. Financially we
were bankrupt Chandrasekar ministry had to pledge gold to escape defaulting on
international commitments. Punjab and Kashmir were on fire of seperatism. Visala
(Greater) Tamil Eelam was being cooked in south in connivance with LTTE from across
the straight. With all these ominous factors looming, CNN, BBC and other foreign media
had came to report disintegration of India. To complete his travails he was heading a
minority government as a stop-gap Prime Minister till one of the impostors will stab others
to declare oneself winner to claim the throne.
So he had not time to spare for his constituency. He had to plan strategies and counter
strategies against the imposters of his party and opposition to continue in power; and to
neutralize the game plans of ISI, LTTE, CIA and many separatist outfits of the country
itself. He had to steer the economy. (He had recruited a good warrior for this front in
Manmohan Sing but Sing was lacking the political skills. So he had to rein Sing from
committing political blunters with economic over-enthusiasm and protect him from
onslaughts of opposition as well that of critics from his own party - as Bagavan Krishnan
was doing to Arjuna at Kurukshethra). It was so critical a time India was not in a position
to enjoy the luxury of a political instability or even an indecisiveness then.
I take this opportunity to register my tributes to Sree Narasinha Raos dexterous handling
of a very critical time of our nation, though he had vacillated later. He is one of the best
Prime Minister India has produced, though by chance, till to-date. I strongly believe that
he had taken some decisions and did some deeds, including that of JMM bribery,
liberalization of economy etc. even putting his own image and interests at risk so as to
fulfill his duty of safeguarding the interests of The Nation.
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Back cover
1- Negation of Inner-party Democracy: Hinder induction and promotion of competence
by negating competition. Nominations and manipulations in the name of consensus
allow a party boss or a caucus to nominate their lackeys to party leadership hierarchy,
and from there to legislature and Government. These lackeys cause character crisis in
politics and Govt. These wrong role models/vicious icon breed corruption and cause
moral-decay of mass. Nominations cause splits in parties through disappointed
aspirants.
2- Indirect election of Exe. Head of Government/PM (Remnants of old council of
lords and bishops recommending one among them as PM): Hypothecate democratic
right of common-man to elect/appoint his (chief) representative to govern them to
some middlemen - i.e. MPs/MLAs. Cause instability through hung parliaments.
Compel national parties to seek coalition with small groups. Allow power brokers to
install one of their lackeys in, or topple another from, this post at their will making it
perpetually susceptible to manipulations.
3- Candidate/Party/Constituency Election System: Cause distortion between
proportions of popular vote and representative strength. Force parties to make
coalitions to by pass or capitalise from this distortion. Coalitions pamper regional and
religious parties and maverick splinter groups, cause proliferation of parties.
Communal consideration in selection of candidates to exploit communal peculiarities
of each constituency. Widen schisms of our diverse society by fomenting communal
passions by candidates and groups to create and maintain vote banks. Dwarf political
leaders to a small constituency. Compel incumbents to pamper ones constituency
misusing public fund.
A waning to us: Examples of how a reigning leader/party can manipulate election
time to his favour in a flawed system. Quote from news reports: Hindu 12-11-99
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AS EXPECTED, THE Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, has gone in
for a snap poll to secure a fresh mandate to govern the country for another five years.
Though elections were due only in April 2000, it was widely believed that Dr. Mahathir
would call for a poll before the end of 1999 to ensure smooth sailing for his 14-party
Barisan Nasional (National Front).
Since the general election can be held within 11 days, a disoriented Opposition may
not be in a position to put up a fight. All said and done, there can be no major surprises
in the Malaysian elections.
Even if the people have their misgivings or reservations about the Anwar trial, the time
may be too short to provide a viable alternative to Dr. Mahathir, who may be fighting his
last election.
5. How to Achieve these Objectives
A legislation or Constitutional review would have been the best way.
But as such changes would negatively affect the reigning politicians and their
controlling caucus we can not expect them to initiate such a move in
parliament. Any such hope is utopian.
So we should explore other feasible alternatives.
Let us start from the least controversial, easiest to achieve and most vital cause, Negation
of inner-party. It is, as explained earlier, not a system fault; but a component our
politicians added, or omitted, somewhere during the practice. If we achieve bringing back
strict Inner-party Democracy practices in our political parties it may become
instrumental to easier achievement of other goals by the presence of a better political
leadership.
Interesting paradox is that a single mainstream political party worth its name can openly
object a demand for inner-party-democracy, as it would go against the grain of
democracy they all pretend to swear-of. At the same time not only it is impossible for
them to initiate a moveto make it mandatory but they would also try their best to obstruct
such move from any corner, as most of them are aware that they would not survive in such
a competitive environment
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As far as I know, our otherwise elaborate constitution is completely blank
about the functioning of political parties. So the easiest way I see is a
Supreme Court directive, in respect of a Public-Interest-Litigation to that
effect: issuing and codifying uniform regulations for the political parties
functions from issuance of membership, elections of their office bearers at all
levels and supervision and periodic auditing of their function by statutory
authorities like election commission.
Though it seems impossible while looking from the present scenario,
changeover to Proportional Representation and Presidential System may be
achievable goals just by an amendment to constitution once the virtuous
leadership is in place through inner-party democracy practices. If not we
would have to lead a freedom-struggle-like mass movement to achieve these
goals. In such a situation achievement of such Great Goals may not be easy,
may need great leadership and some sacrifices from the masses.
But there is no use of waiting for such a leader to happen. We should try at the
earliest with what ever we can do at our levels. (This book is part of such an effort
effort to awaken you) Movements with such great goals may create great
leaders or bring out and polish great qualities hidden in one of its practitioners. i
am not prejudging/projecting any one... or I am not projecting myself as a
candidate for such a leadership... it can be one of you... the most competent one.
I am hopeful that there are many great sons of Mother India lurking in
ignorance of their qualities and capabilities. So let us start, he may be one
among us, destined to lead us to our cherished goal - A Great India.
Uthishttatha, Jagratha, Prapya Varan Nibodhitha