Political party system in a democracy.

My frustration comes from recent incidents like Dadri Lynching, Beef Ban, and complete non-response from the top BJP members to stop this.

I have been a great fan of AAP, up till some of its core democratic principles were sidelined in order to speed the progress, I am of course referring to expulsion of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan from the party. Removal of Lokpal Admiral Ramdas, and most recently dissolution of AAP’s Maharashtra’s branches, and getting a new head for Maharashtra unit. There have been many other critical steps taken by AAP that I disagree with, but the for me the most troubling ones had been the above mentioned ones.

That brings to question, what exactly could have been done differently. I was recently pointed out that every system has its positives when introduced, but slowly issues creep up, and we have make changes. These issues were not even considered when originally planned.(Illustrated very nicely in book Series Shiva Trilogy, by Amish Tripathy, though I haven’t read it yet, I trust the judgement of the person who informed me.)

First individual selfish gatherings, then community, then elderly group, then monarchy, then democracy. There have been various forms of governments, each improving on some aspects of the past ones, Which points out one thing very clearly, there is no perfect solution yet.

Now coming to current discussion, the democracy in India, Being one of the largest democracies, India has a massive scale to test democratic ideas and principles, and find out vulnerabilities in a system, and hence a massive challenge to address them in time to improve.

Ill try to list down some major concerns I have with the current system.

  • 2014 election and BJP’s win on a single persons (Narendra Modi) image and propaganda. The concern is, that due to what was termed as Modi Wave, a wide range of people got into elected positions, just because they got a ticket to contest for BJP in the area. Their affiliation to a political party got them their MP seat. Their individual characterstics, criminal background, Educational background was not considered.
  • Post 2014 election, the inability for people in the highest chairs, PM and MP’s to be held accountable to events like ‘ghar wapsi’, ‘beef ban’, ‘church vandalization’, etc, where the execution of Parliament was blocked to just get a comment out of PM. Which never came.
  • Post 2015 Delhi election, AAP leaders could not be held accountable for removing Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, and Admiral Ramdas. Many changes were against party constitution, but still. A case against them would take years to resolve, just to turn the decision of removal.
  • The fact that people have to wait for another 4 years after which they can hold MP’s accountable again. Which would be sidelined by placing Pigs in Mosques and Beef in Temples, (See Bihar election), so the important questions are forgotten, and only current topics are discussed.
  • Slow Judicial system, and its inability to prosecute the people, who polarise the community before elections.
  • MP’s from a political party cannot disagree to the proposal raised by their party, cannot support the CM of another party (unless its 1/3rd in strength). and so on.

I believe the major issue that we are seeing is the lack of individuality in the elections, and after the elections. So Here is a thought experiment.

Consider a democracy, where there are no political parties, just individuals.Where elections are fought and won on individual names, not their associations. CMs are decided by voting among the selected MLAs and PMs from voting by MPs. Just a representational electoral chain. People well in advance can declare their consideration for CM/PM hood, and others claim their support to them. So say I want Modi to be the PM, I can chose among many people contesting for MP, who support Modi for their vote. And the house is not made by trading support of political parties, but by people, after declaring an agenda. If the PM/CM sidelines from the agenda, or do not respond to a concern of the citizens, a No-Confidence motion can considered to re-asses the majority of the PM. Which is how he can be held accountable to the MPs.

Next the MPs can be held accountable by the lower level of elected representatives, and so on till the individual community, whose leader can be accountable by votes in that community.

This system seem to be very hard to implement, and seem to be very unstable as people do not have a fixed term, to work independently. So to address that, we can add No-Confidence motion can only be raised when Parliament is in session, which may give a gap of 6 months stability, and a total of 5 years before complete re-election.

Now in this complete system, if a group of individuals want to come together under a common ideological umbrella, and name it something, let it be, but that cannot be a restriction later.

And as always the judicial system need to be improved. Which is in a very bad state today.

After feeling down for so long, I came across Javed Akhtar’s interview.

Lets all hope India comes out of these incidents stronger, and resilient.

Jai Hind.

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2 Responses to Political party system in a democracy.

  1. Shahbaz Khan says:

    Interesting thought experiment I must say. However I do have a massive lot of concerns.

    Firstly, the individuals selected as MP’s/MLA’s to say support some PM/CM candidate cannot be held accountable if the switch overnight (say due to political pressure, bribe, pressure by goons etc.) then the power of electorate will be further weakened. They can always say that their newly chosen CM/PM have announced some new policies that they strongly agree to, or make a hype of some statement of their original choice. Hence the power of ballot would become weaker than money (or BULLET) in a possible scenario.

    Secondly, suppose there is a very popular and important PM/CM candidate. People would use the call to support them earlier, to get elected and then show their true colours. Also many people may rise in support of the same PM/CM, which would eventually divide his popularity votes and make the second favourite (less popular) candidate the PM/CM. Thus elections would be more cases with fraud candidates.

    Thirdly, assume that people are indeed selected and every thing goes normal. In order to take the country on good steps, several strong (unpopular/hated by many) steps have to be taken. (Like increasing fare of railway/ reducing free stuff etc./ FDI). The person in power cannot take stronger steps because the results of these will not be noticeable in say 6 months, it may as well take 2-3 years or even 5-10 years (eg. forming new IITs (+ve), reducing the funding of old IITs(-ve) ). The person either have to explain all his policies every time (which can be ridiculed and unnecessary controversy added by local leaders who are more in contact with people to react fast), and hence become ineffective as he has to constantly fear losing power. Thus to do at least some good, he would choose to stay in power rather than taking decisive steps. Hence it would cripple the power of the PM/CM.

    I do understand these are pessimist views, but in such a large democracy these are justifiable fears. As you rightly pointed out, India being the largest democracy, is a massive data set on which policies and can be tested. But that also means that a single disruption can cause massive losses. I do agree right to reject should be there, but always to a limited level. An interesting idea of yours having more layers of peoples representation seems really good. Similar to jury in western judicial system. They can be from all walks of life who would decide have a stronger hold on the local MP/MLA’s with right to reject. Who are harder to influence (because of intelligence, power, money etc.), harder to lobby etc. But then again millions of ideas can be there to exploit this change. The thing as u mentioned there is no simple solution for every complex problem (some problems are NP complete 🙂 ) we will have to fix individual problems one by one, testing them on and on, rather that changing the entire structure overnight. If the structure change would be inevitable it would reflect from these small changes and will eventually happen.

    • Again, the whole idea is to remove herding and select correct people at every level. So given the capability of changing stance, the person record will reflect the correct judgement. Also I would advocate standing from one’s own constituency, where one has worked in the past so people know him/ his policies, his methods. And if the scope increases from root to PM, then the democracy is completely representational.
      Consider the concept of Mohalla Sabha’s/Panchayat as first elected representation. Then next level, then next level upto MP, then PM.
      So a person needs to perform at every level in the administration, to become adjusted to every facet of administration, and problems at every level before taking the charge of CM/PM, which is a huge responsibility. And people wont become MPs overnight who have no history of Administration. Like Smriti Irani, etc.

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