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Reforms are needed in India: Not just Electoral, Political too

Posted by Neeraj Singh on April 16, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Today we are plagued by many an issue with the contemporary practices within Indian Political & Electoral system. It ranges from the type of candidate to their affiliations, Populism, Criminalization, Regionalism, and Casteism amongst other issues. I have tried putting my views below on some of these concerning issues.

REGIONAL POLITICAL OUTFITS:

They must go. Regional political outfits have created further divide in the nation than bringing any efficiency in dealing with the regional problems / issues. The main reason for any regional party has got, essentially, nothing to do with any different or unique ideology that they follow. It, rather, is just an extension, by way, of creating a small group & influences the politics by sinister divisive tools like Caste, Religion, and Region etc. Take any party for that matter & you will see their lineages. Lalu’s RJD & Mulayam’s SP have Muslim & Yadav vote banks while Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP & Mayawati’s BSP have primarily Dalit voters to trust upon, Nitish may have people from all castes within his party but primarily he banks on the Koyeri votes, Similarly, if you go down South, DMK has majority Dravidian votes & like wise. Time immemorial these parties have just galvanized these vote banks but have never done any good to them than to make them chant slogans for some beleaguered freedom fighters instead of doing anything concrete to uplift their living standards. There are, than, parties within these regional factions who are religion based; Muslim league is an example of that. Essentially there are just two parties whose ideologies are really in black & right, at least the intent, namely, the rightists BJP wing & the Leftist Communists. Barring Left parties that are entirely driven by ideology based supporters, even BJP draws support from various castes that its party leadership has, especially from the upper castes across India. Congress has really been dilly dallying all thru these years without any concrete policy position with regard to any of the ideologies.

My belief is that we shall have only few parties & that too at the national level. They can have their regional outfits / offshoots but essentially these need to be a broad ideology based parties. Not too different than what we have in the US. Now the only reason to do this is to ensure that people are voting for an ideology than for a caste / religion / region based group. How can you call India Democratic & a Secular nation, when, at one place you are driving your politics based on the caste / religion (Non–secular) while on the other hand, by practicing such political electoral system you are making those parties, that have representation from such castes / religion who have more population, have an edge, probably unconsciously but isn’t that a bit un-democratic too. It may not have practically happened that way so far but essentially one can’t rule out the possibility of such thing happening in future. If we had equal number of Muslims in this country, I am sure the Kar sevaks wouldn’t have dared to demolish the Babri Masjid. Would they? So population does play an important role in the making of the politics of a nation but it shall not over power the rights of others, in this process, who may not be equal in number but are equal humans. (Although Muslims & Christians don’t believe in any caste system however they do have different sects within them)

People need to come out & vote their support to the ideology they like rather just a group of people. If there is any question of leadership within such a party itself, that can resolved thru discussions / debates or finally voting by all party members. Debate is the ideal way. By doing this, people fighting for leadership posts will have to first convince the members first for why they think they shall be their leader?

What are the other benefits of this type of politics?

1. It will never allow dynasty politics to creep in any sphere.

2. Parties will have to choose amongst themselves who is their leader for any constituency. This can happen by a voting amongst themselves

3. Leaders will be chosen at the national level so less chances of regionalism to creep in with supporters of leaders fighting amongst themselves to get a seat because of a caste / religious / regional lineage

4. The parties can’t follow different practices of choosing their leadership as like in many parties today. They will have to have elections within each of their parties as per the rules & regulations set by the Election Commission.

5. Only the best / fittest will get to reach the top.

6. One caste at one time & another at another time won’t get benefited. It will be a common program during all rules. The moment this happens, the party members with majority votes can repeal their leader of his rights.

7. Defections won’t happen too much because now the parties are fighting itself on the differences in the ideology that they follow. It will be like saying that the democrats merged with Republicans to form the govt. However elected members can’t still do so, right. If they do, apply the below rule.

LAW ON DEFECTION:

Just like the people don’t have the right to change the leader of their constituency during the term irrespective of the leader being Inefficient or Corrupt, with the same token a leader too should not have the right to change his political identity during the course for which he has been chosen. What does it mean in layman’s language? Say for example, any respective constituency chooses a political leader “A” basis his thoughts, his lineage to a specific ideology & promises that he makes to the people of constituency. Suddenly to gain political benefits, may be to become a minister or whatever, he chooses to defect from his party & gets into the new party with a different ideology or thought process, thus, gets a new image of “B”. By doing so, is he not cheating both the people as well as the Nation? People are chosen based on their image. He was chosen for image A & not B hence it becomes imminent that in such an event, his election shall be held null & void. A fresh election shall be held for that constituency whereby he can again fight with the new image “B” & let the people decide if they want to make him their representative again or not? It shall apply to a representative with or without allegiance to any political party & also whether the representative is an independent or part of a group who want to change their allegiance.

ELECTION, PARTY & STATE FUNDING:

Election funding: This has always been a bone of contention. Now today, in the guise of providing good administration every political party resorts to funding, that includes black money of businesses too, in order to win the elections. This is the money that shall have actually resided with the government but is getting wasted in the name of campaigns. Every party would be provided with equal state funding. Pre, during & post poll study would be conducted by the election commission to estimate the actual spending on the elections by a party. All choppers would have to be necessarily provided only by the election commission. There would be a fixed quote for each party. It will be not be guided by the size of the party. The hiring of choppers/ helicopters would also be part of the funding itself. Any political leader hiring a chopper on his own, for use, in campaigning will be treated as a breaking of rules. Any party found to have used funding otherwise would / can be barred from elections even after they may have fought it. The punishment would be decided based on the extent of additional funds that they used. Say, use of funds more than 5% of the allotment may call for a warning while a 10% may call for rejection in that constituency & more than 15% will call for barring the party for 3 years from fighting any elections. Similarly, 3 warnings can equate the same punishment as for in 15% clause.

Party funding: Political parties, like, any other Corporate or individual, will have to file its party funding sources of income & expense statement after end of every financial year. This would not just apply to a political party rather all institutions in India including Religious trusts amongst others.

State funding: Decision & disbursement of money for a State’s development will always be done by a panel of experts of an autonomous body appointed by the Central government. This would be done to curb the current issue raised by many state governments that the central governments have a step fatherly treatment towards them due to them being of different party. Also, in this case, the minister in charge will play the role like that of the president. He will have to necessarily say yes to the state funding once it has been decided by the panel. This panel will, of course, will have to keep in mind the economic situation of the GoI before taking such decision. Any conflict between the panel & the GoI needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.

POPULAR POLITICS:

This is something that typically every party provides in its election manifesto. Promising freebies like providing free TV, mobile phones etc. This phenomenon is not just observed prior to elections rather also post elections once the government has been formed.

1. Pre Election: Every political party will have to create its manifesto & submit to the election commission at least 3 months in advance. Election commission, then, thru its panel of experts will review each & every manifesto. Panel’s job will be just to see what are those things that constitute the popular politics promise are. what would constitute Popular politics promise:

 Promises that seem to be found to be luring the voters to vote for them & are beyond the reason to be provided to the electorate which doesn’t form the part of their immediate need & is not a basic need

 Need to weigh the impact of the promise on the exchequer vis-à-vis the status of the exchequer & its economic viability. If the state is not in a financial condition to share the burden of such an initiative, the promise can’t be published to the electorate.

Both of the above regulations need to be read in conjunction & hence both need to be satisfied.

2. Post Government formation: Beyond this, the popular politics will also be shelved post the government creation:

Jobs: No minister or ministry will have any right to offer job to any person / persons whatsoever on any grounds until they meet the basic criteria to be in such job as specified by the GoI or concerned ministry. This is being done to demote the practice of offering jobs on compassionate grounds.

Compensation: No minister or ministry will have any right to announce any compensation package for any individual / individuals including the members of the India Armed Forces who may have laid their life while fighting for the nation. There will be a fixed package for individual / individuals who meet with any untoward incidence on various grounds. The compensation will be revised every year to remain at the current status of living Index.

Promotions: No individual can be promoted to any higher rank unless he meets up with the maximum criteria as specified or as laid down for such a post. The promotion for all would happen based on their annual appraisal results. It will be created for each & every job within a ministry. In essence it would mean that there can’t be any political posts there onwards nor would there be any reservation in promotions either within State or Central government jobs.

Reservation: Reservation would be administered by an autonomous council & would remain as a subject of the Central or State governments. A single autonomous council, on the lines of Election Commission, will decide upon the need for reservation, its guidelines & enforcement. It will conduct an annual assessment to measure success of the policies of such people who have been benefited because of such policies & submit the report to the GoI who can take a decision if they want to continue with reservation or not? It will be not in any political parties hand to decide on whom to include, what to include within the jurisdiction of reservation policies.

CRIMINALIZATION OF POLITICS:

I am completely of the same view as proposed by the Election Commission of India as a proposal (Refer Documents on this site) to the GoI to break the nexus of the criminal politics & their candidature in various elections. Unfortunately, GoI is sleeping on it for ages.

Uttishtha Bharat supports all endeavours of such people who are willing to have the above policies implemented & see them as a thought process to cleanse the Indian polity for good. The above views need to be read as presented for the above issues alone. They may need more deliberations however the approach would be to get more rationalistic as we move forward. It could be a matter of debate & discussion with those who may have different thoughts than the ones prescribed above. Please do let me know if you think differently & are ready for a healthy debate.

Jai Ho

Uttishtha Bharat

 

Categories: Policies & Reforms

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