Thursday, June 18, 2015
Let us think and Act with an open mind to
Develop a Vibrant Democracy – Article 21
Introduction: Articles 1 to 20 had focused on thirty obstacles which caused a distorted and ineffective democracy and suggested possible solutions for these. The present article reiterates some important aspects in earlier articles to provide back ground for formulating necessary changes in democracy. Constitution provided some checks and balances to ensure proper functioning of democracy. To what extent these were effective is also included in this back ground. I am constrained to focus on all unpleasant negative findings which need correction because we have to be fully conscious of these if we want to improve matters.
Large proportions of voters make mockery of democracy by either not making independent choice (being influenced by caste, religion, intimidation etc.) or by “selling” votes (Article 2). This “mocked approval” has resulted in the incongruity that political parties were supported only by a negligible minority who had honestly voted without being influenced by extraneous considerations (Article 20). Another mockery is that during last 50 years, number of women left out from electoral roll increased fourfold from already large 15 millions to 68 millions, showing gross and increasing undervaluation of right of women to vote (Article 2).
Out of 543 MPs elected in 2009, vast majority of 78% had even mocked approval of only less than half of the electorate and did not qualify to be representatives. Even after spectacular success of BJP in 2014 elections, it had even mocked approval of only 31% of electorate!! Thus, its claim of being representative of people is outright hollow.
Constitution had put a bar on criminals getting registered as voters or becoming MPs / MLAs. Shockingly, 162 Lok Sabha members and 1,268 MLAs, with declared criminal records might have violated this bar (Article 2). It is likely that present Parliament also has this defect. This large scale suspected violation of Constitution casts doubt on legitimacy of Parliament.
Moreover, 30% of ministers in present central government had filed affidavits that they had criminal cases against them (Deccan Chronicle dated 08-06-15). This casts doubt about legality of this government.
All these raise three important questions. Knowing that Constitution had put a bar on criminals getting registered as voters or becoming MPs / MLAs: (1) why have our government, legal experts and hon’ble judges not fulfilled their moral responsibility to clear the doubts and ensure that there is no illegal Parliament and government? (2) why were these suspected criminals not keen to prove that they are innocent by taking prior/quick action? (3) why are we so dumb and callous that we tolerate being governed by suspected criminals, justifying the remark that “A nation of sheep gets a government of wolves”
An MP or MLA has to perform important functions of governance. The expectation that voters have knowledge and expertise to select persons who can perform these functions efficiently is a fundamental fault of election system (Article 14). This shows that most elected persons not only did not have even mocked majority approval but also may not have the required capacity because of being selected by laymen, that too mainly on extraneous considerations.
With five-yearly elections, even efficient representatives are compulsorily weeded out along with inefficient and tainted ones, unlike management machinery which has continuity. This lack of continuity in top levels leads to avoidable distortions and distractions in governance. A flexible election system guided solely by need to weed out only inefficient and tainted representatives to improve governance can avoid these (Article 3).
Sole purpose of election is to give voice to people. But, election system could not give voice to majority of people. A better method for giving voice to people, not once in five years as an ineffective ritual as at present, but more frequently and effectively is needed (Article 4).
Method of government formation led to subtle and concealed dictatorship rather than democracy (Article 5). This also resulted in dictatorial attitude that listening to others is a weakness. It has not been realized that real strength of democracy lies in its ability to (1) listen to people, (2) accept useful ideas and (3) act on these with vision and commitment (Article 6).
Attitude of not acting on important information provided by even a constitutional authority (CAG) is another instance of dictatorial approach and a serious blow to democracy.
Government is obsessed with GDP growth and revenue collection. It becomes upset if GDP growth falls but is not bothered if people suffer. The fact that higher GDP has only resulted in widening gap between the rich and the poor is not its concern.
Successful governance requires qualified professionals to be in charge of various activities which can be properly handled by them only. But most technical departments are headed by Indian Administration Service (IAS) officers. This illogical positioning allows professionals to be supervised by non-professionals and thereby hinders progress and accountability.
Faced with problems of faulty governance, strategy of escapism and buying time is chosen by referring to Commissions, Standing Committees of Parliament etc. Findings of these top bodies are seldom acted upon.
During last 10 years government broke its promise to Parliament 1,024 times as reported by Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (Article 6). Surprisingly, this shocking information did not cause even ripples!! (Article 15). This speaks volumes about government’s lack of credibility and respect for Parliament.
Management infrastructure, consisting of ministers and government officials, has some basic faults. (Article 7) They lack uniform perceptions about (a) democracy, (b) different aspects of management of democracy and (c) a mind set to comply with democratic principles. Therefore, it is not functioning as a well-knit unit with full focus on democracy.
When senior officers, after thorough study based on their long experience, submit “proposals” to minster, quite often these are modified or rejected by minster in a dictatorial manner to serve party interests or selfish interests or vested interests. These obviously dishonest and dictatorial practices not only score over merit of proposals but also destroy belief of officers in honest functioning, in addition to belittling their expertise and longer experience compared to those of minister. Therefore, many of them lose their sense of commitment and / or become cynical - both detrimental to efficient functioning. Even worse, some of them are tempted or forced to form a nexus with minster for undemocratic and non-transparent activities. These result in misgovernance and scams.
When tackling any problem faced by people, an arrogant and negative attitude of denial of help to people has been all pervasive in a government intended for people!!
Avoiding effective actions to punish dishonesty are quite common. Moreover, honest officers are frequently transferred as punishment, with some officers being transferred 40 times or more!!
Police have earned a reputation of being corrupt in dealing with problems faced by people. (Article 8) Most people are afraid to complain to police. Filing of FIR is subject to whims of police or pressures they face. Burking of crime is so common that every year about 60 lakh cases are not registered.
Most people are unhappy with police who are “criminals in uniform” and “armed militia of politicians”, as stated by a former police commissioner. There are only 106 policemen for one lakh people, which is less than half of the recommended 222. Even worse, available policemen are frequently misused or deputed for non-governmental activities. Consequently, there are at least three policemen for every VIP and just one for every 8,000 people!!
MPs and MLAs often close their eyes to dreadful realities and allow matters to drift.
Besides corruption being rampant, mega scams have been exposed with alarming frequency (Article 9). Punishment of culprits is dragging on and causing concern and cynicism among people.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has grossly inadequate staff and resources to investigate corruption in more than 1500 central government ministries and departments. CVC can investigate corruption against government officials only after government permits it!! Government is not confident that there is nothing to hide and prefers a toothless CVC.
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) regularly reports deficiencies observed and system failures and suggests improvements. But hardly any worthwhile action was taken even on serious matters.
In 2009, CAG requested government to amend Audit Act 1971 to bring all private-public partnerships (PPP), Panchayti Raj Institutions and societies getting government funds within the ambit of CAG and to enhance CAG’s powers to access information because almost 30% of documents demanded by CAG were denied. Though projects worth millions of rupees are executed under PPP model, these projects are not audited by CAG. About 65% of government spending does not come under scrutiny of CAG!! But government has not cared to amend the Act even after six years. Thus, the very purpose of having this authority to provide checks has been callously defeated.
Government control on appointments to CBI at all levels is a travesty. CBI, being dependent on many government departments for staff etc., has innate problems in investigating government actions. Despite repeated court orders, CBI continues to be hampered and cannot function independently. A former director and joint director of CBI exposed government for engaging in nepotism, wrongful prosecution and corruption. CBI has not been able to make a dent on rampant corruption all over the country.
Creation of Lokpal to probe complaints against top level public functionaries was pending for 44 years!! A bill for this was passed in Lok Sabha in 1969, but rejected nine times up to 2008 by Rajya Sabha. Giving equal importance to direct and indirect representatives of people is questionable, particularly when functioning of important checks and balances are involved.
Subsequently, the bill was revived several times. Each time, after introduction in Parliament, it was stalled using devious methods. These repeated impediments show lack of interest in passing such an important bill. At last, a bill was passed and approved by President. Considering the series of obstacles in passing the bill, it is reasonable to believe that implementation of the bill also will have to face lot of obstacles which will cause long delays.
In 1966, Administrative Reforms Commission recommended setting up of “Lok Ayukta” in all states for redressal of citizens' grievances. Despite a long interval of 49 years, 10 states do not have Lok Ayuktas. Even in states with Lok Ayukta, proper action was not taken against persons charged with corruption by it. It has no power to take independent action to penalize those found guilty. Its capacity has been further downgraded by not providing adequate staff and other facilities. Evidently state governments want to avoid checks on dishonest activities.
Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI) provides access to information under control of public authorities in order to promote transparency and accountability. Even during limited use by people, many government departments either delayed or refused to give information. Moreover, government wanted to make changes in the Act to curtail its use. When Chief Information Commissioner ruled that political parties are answerable under the Act about public funds given to them, government planned to introduce an amendment to the Act to nullify this.
Many RTI activists have been harassed and some even murdered. Government has not taken any worthwhile action to protect RTI activists. This confirms callous approach of government towards this important check on its functioning by people.
Multiple instances of threat and harassment of whistleblowers and even some murders have occurred. Whistleblowers' Protection Bill, 2011 was passed by Lok Sabha but is pending in Rajya Sabha!! This is another instance of “indirectly elected representatives” blocking an important bill passed by “directly elected representatives” of people – a blow to democracy!!
These examples of inaction for many problems show that peoples’ representatives do not care to set things right because of lopsided preferences.
Article 10 pointed out two atrocious facts. (1) On an average every year, about 90,000 people had complained to NHRC about violation of human rights and (2) NHRC had no qualms in refusing to examine about two-thirds of these complaints. NHRC did not amend an obsolete Regulation, which stood in its way, using its statutory powers to regulate its own procedure for disposal of complaints. NHRC had failed miserably to have a check on human rights violations. Thus even the last channel of hope has been cruelly cut off for lakhs of possible sufferers from human rights violations.
Cases have been pending in courts and delaying justice for many years to lakhs of people (Article 11). In 2009, India had the largest backlog of cases in the world. Roughly, more than 30 million cases are pending now. Yet, serious attempts were not made to remove shortage of judges. Judges enjoyed the exceptional privilege of vacations regularly, unlike many officers who even worked overtime!! Judges did not apply their mind to remove archaic procedures which cause delay. Because of high cost it is almost impossible for most people to get justice. Neither Parliament nor government nor judges sincerely applied their mind to provide quick affordable justice.
While government claims lack of resources for appointing more judges, there are innumerable instances of wastage. This shows that meager allocations made are due to low priority and not lack of resources.
Transparency of courts is increasingly questioned by people. When a complainant sought file “notings” and reason for judgment, Supreme Court stated that it does not maintain any such records and nobody has right to question its judgments. The former shows that SC functions in an unsystematic manner without keeping proper records!! The latter shows a deplorable attitude that people have no right to ask for grounds for judgment. This is anti-democratic and an act of contempt of people who are masters in a democracy.
National integration is essential to develop best possible democracy for whole country (Article 12). This needs planning and implementation of multiple innovative approaches with determination and sense of commitment. One approach is to encourage (1) inter state migration, (2) Inter caste, inter religious and inter state marriages, (3) “know your country” education trips for school children and college students and (4) national script for all languages.
Article 13 emphasized that democracy will function better if the country is divided into small states of optimum size. It suggested setting up another States Reorganization Commission with instructions to ascertain optimum size of state to have successful democracy in different demographic situations and carve out small compact states which can satisfy needs and aspirations of different identity groups to maximum extent possible.
Article 14 pointed out three fundamental weaknesses of present system:
(1) People with out required knowledge and expertise are asked to elect efficient persons with qualifications and experience to enact laws, make policies and govern the country.
(2) Politicians who usurped power from qualified professionals under the claim that they were elected by people often have even mocked support of less than 35% of people in their constituencies!!
(3) There is no system to assess efficiency of performance of political leaders involved in governance every year, unlike for officials.
To overcome these, Article 14 stressed the need to (a) consider an alternative for election system, (b) train elected representatives before they start functioning, (c) assess efficiency of elected representatives every year and (d) thoroughly overhaul the system using a professional approach which is badly needed.
The country faced many shameful situations covering almost all crucial sectors (Article 15). Parliament did not care to rectify any of these shameful situations. Moreover, it lacked guts to punish government for breaking promises thousands of times and spinelessly tolerated disrespect from government thousands of times, without dignity expected from the august supreme body.
In previous Parliament, 86% of Rajya Sabha members and 58% of Lok Sabha members were crorepatis. With this highly imbalanced and unhealthy representation of people, it favoured the rich against the poor.
Significantly, most dismal failures of democracy were contributed by Parliament and Assemblies which did not exercise supreme power bestowed on them to ensure checks.
We should ask ourselves: why do we spent lakhs of crores of public money to maintain a Parliament which lacks accountability, ethics of care for aam admi, dignity and guts to punish government for braking promises thousands of times? Why should we not try another system which is cheaper and can uphold voice of people more efficiently and gracefully? If a way cannot be found to avoid mostly crorepatis being elected to Parliament, abolition of Parliament with such distorted and unhealthy representation of people is further justified.
Effective functioning of democracy requires an alert media with broad vision which functions as watch dog for providing feed back to government for corrective action, informs people about state of affairs and provides platform for public debate. Media needs to improve its functioning in all these aspects (Article 16).
Article 15 listed number of deplorable situations which are shameful for the country. Media did not adequately question government, MPs and MLAs about these and insist on corrective measures.
Printed media did not adequately encourage journalists and social activists to publish articles which discuss need and suggestions for improving democracy.
Media’s value system needs review. For example, media gives more importance to one death from terror attack than to about 10,000 deaths from accidents. It has not realized that terrorists themselves know that they are incapable of doing any harm on a large scale and plan only isolated instances to create scare and publicity only. By splashing such emotional news media has helped them exceedingly well to achieve their aim!! Innovative ideas are essential to tackle this situation cleverly and spoil their aim.
One way is to completely suppress news of terrorist attacks in public interest and confidentially take up with government the need to ensure proper preventive steps. Such a blackout of news will make terrorists frustrated, exasperated and miserable.
Another problem is lopsided priorities. Important aspects of governance and peoples’ welfare do not receive adequate attention. Lot of space / TV time is used for inter and intra political party disputes. Space for proper news is often displaced by photos of VIPs and gossip about their activities!!
Often, front page of newspapers which should get priority for main news has given way to advertisements, even full page, which fetch enormous amounts of money. This is in addition to space for advertisements far outstretching space for news.
Our President had expressed concern over “aberrations” like “paid news” and “sensationalism” in stead of objective assessment and truthful reporting.
Media has a short memory even for important matters, which is exploited by government. It should develop a system of persistent follow up of all serious matters till government action produces desired results.
Thinking out of the box is a rare phenomenon.
Introspection on all aspects mentioned in Article 16 is essential. This should be undertaken by colleges teaching journalism, media establishments, working journalists and organizations like Press Council, Editors’ Guild, newspaper associations etc. They ought to evolve a code of ethics to guide their activities.
Before independence, the country had leaders who sacrificed a lot to fight for independence (Article 17). Later on, some politicians acquired many disqualifications for a leader of democracy (Article 19). Our President expressed concern and disappointment at “eroding commitment among the legislators who are expected to be custodians of public interests and rights”.
Most survivors among freedom fighters became cynical and disgruntled and suffer from a defeatist mentality. Younger generations of potential upholders of democracy are confused without proper leadership. To overcome this, both groups should dare to think and act and organize themselves to save democracy. For a start, they should create awareness among people, mobilize their support and provide them leadership to fight for a truly vibrant democracy.
We, the people, have failed in our responsibility to elect representatives who have qualifications and experience needed for fulfilling responsibilities of governance and will to commit themselves to fulfill these responsibilities. (Article 18)
Another major failure is that after voting once in five years, we sit back and allow our representatives and the government they form to govern as they like. We are not alert enough to question when they do not act for welfare of people and repeatedly act ignoring principles of democracy and promises made at election time.
We should insist that once in six months our MLA and our MP should report their achievements as well as problems faced and future plans to overcome these, in a meeting of all groups of people (without any exceptions and including local leaders). These six-monthly review meetings should also be made use of to give a feed back about the extent to which government has met needs and aspirations of people and to make wise selection of efficient leaders, out of elected and local leaders who attend these meetings. We have to play dual roles of partners in democracy and watch dogs to detect deficiencies in democracy.
Another major failure is misconception that government alone can provide good governance. This resulted in totally negative and callous view about cooperating with government efforts and supplementing these. Even worse, we often create problems because of narrow selfish interests and intolerance of others.
A fundamental mistake is to consider that democracy is needed only for good governance. Many more aspects e.g., those relating to religion, culture, entertainment, recreation, sports etc., have influence on quality of life – may be even more than governance. To enjoy a happy life these require careful attention and proper direction, which are lacking at present. These cannot and should not be taken up by government. We also have responsibility to organize ourselves to ensure happy and peaceful surroundings which are not subjected to hatred and fear. We should develop a sense of discipline to help to reduce problems and to avoid creating other problems.
All these show that we, the people, have some wrong perceptions which hinder development and maintenance of vibrant democracy leading to a happy life. To overcome these we have to change our mindset.
In addition to lack of qualification in the art or science of governance, many political leaders have acquired at least some disqualifications (Article 19).
Because of other interests political leaders not only lacked professional approach but also curbed professionals in their work.
Moreover, by creating a politician-cum-bureaucrat nexus and regularly harassing those who did not fall in line, politicians destroyed the innate strength of our system of governance, without realizing the serious harm they have done to the back bone of our democracy.
Qualifications, experience, duties and responsibilities have been prescribed for each position, except for elected representatives even though MPs and MLAs have to hold more highly responsible positions. This impropriety becomes more glaring because they have to exercise control over activities carried out by qualified and experienced professionals in different fields.
Article 19 also describes five ways in which politicians became enemies of democracy. Because of this, the worst attack Parliament has been facing is from within and it has eminently qualified itself for self destruction.
Political parties have created large armies of workers with conflicting ideologies and party interests only and without any vision about national interests (Article 20). They often start inter party disputes and quarrels. Resort to violence is quite common and even murders have occurred. Another problem is that their hero worship has led to many unfortunate situations.
Similarly, they have diverted attention of college students from studies and a positive attitude to peoples’ problems to a negative one of raving and fighting for party interests. When these young minds grow up in this background they will imbibe some undesirable traits. Because of misdirected party interests, many of them may become faction leaders, manipulators and traders of hatred. This deplorable situation can lead to many undesirable possibilities for the future!!
Using their large army of grass root level workers, political parties cleverly manipulate creation of caste, linguistic, religious and other group conflicts as well as cliques, crimes and other situations to safeguard their selfish interests. Thus, political parties are responsible for many crimes and creation of hatred and violence in many parts of the country.
Another serious drawback of having political parties is creation of duel power centres (multiple in case of coalition governments) which lead to obstacles and delays in decision making.
Article 19 showed that politicians became enemies of democracy. Party system is the main cause for this.
Abolition of political parties will free police from malignant and suffocating political control and improve law and order situation in the country by leaps and bounds.
Main reason for having political parties is to have a check on misgovernance by party in power. But, these articles show that they have in stead become root cause of misgovernance!!
While advantage of having party system has not materialized, abolishing it will have 17 advantages (Article 20). Evidently, there is absolutely no doubt that party system should be abolished.
These articles also show that all checks and balances envisaged in Constitution have failed in one way or the other. To overcome this situation, a Commission should be constituted to regularly review working of all checks and balances.
(Please keep all these articles within easy reach for referring back till the series is completed.)
You can help to save our sinking democracy by making as many people as possible aware of these obstacles and possible solutions, through personal group discussions, newspaper articles, e-mail and social media like face book and twitter so that we can have healthy debates and arrive at some innovative ideas to save our sinking democracy.
Comments (especially those which point out errors or deficiencies, if any, in this article and thereby help to improve it) are welcome. Please send these to StartRemovingBlocks@outlook.com. I shall make use of all befitting suggestions to modify the outline of the revised system of democracy (Article 24).
Let us think and Act with an open mind to
Develop a Vibrant Democracy – Article 20
Introduction: I have identified thirty obstacles which cause a distorted and ineffective democracy and possible solutions for these. Because very few people have time / inclination to read long articles, these are presented in separate brief articles for pointed attention and easier assimilation. I hope this will lead to spreading of awareness and facilitating point by point debate on each of these for saving our sinking democracy.
(Please keep these articles within easy reach for referring back till the series is completed)
Representation through political parties
When a political party manages to form a government its total share of votes may at best be less than 35% of adult population, often much less (Article 2). This falls much short of the target to make them representative of total adult population. For example, even after spectacular success in 2014 elections, BJP has support of only 31% of electorate!! What makes such representation worse and questionable is that these 31% voters included those who (a) voted in droves and forsook their individual responsibility, (b) sold their vote, (c) allowed themselves to be intimidated, (d) preferred persons of their own caste against more efficient persons who have capacity to serve people, (e) voted for a party candidate and (f) voted responsibly. If political parties can have support of only a minority of the electorate, of which responsible voters form only a small proportion, how can we justify a party system for governance?
Further, even these elected persons are not free to express their opinions frankly to support needs and aspirations of people because of being subservient to their party and use of whip while voting. Hardly any political party has effective internal democracy. How can parties which do not have respect for internal democracy safeguard democracy in the country? If there is no party system, elected persons can act with freedom to ensure peoples’ welfare.
There are talented persons in political parties. If only they were encouraged (or at least allowed) to think and act giving more priority to national interest than to party interest, manifold shameful situations pointed out in Article 15 could have been avoided. A pertinent example is that Dr. Manmohan Singh saved the country from financial collapse when he was allowed to act. But, later on he lost freedom to act and earned the unsavory reputation of being a man without his own ideas!! Elected leaders (even if talented) can be either puppets in the hands of a coterie within parties or victims of coalition politics. If there is no party system, talented representatives will be allowed to act keeping benefit for the country in mind.
Another serious drawback of party system is that large gold mines of talents outside the party in power have seldom been made use of!! These can be used for benefit of the country if there is no party system.
Important legislations are manipulated by party in power with an eye on votes. In this dismal situation which shows lack of ethics of care for people, how can political parties justify their existence as makers of law for people? If there is no party system, legislations with an eye on votes will not occur.
Party interests get much higher priority than peoples’ interests. This diversion of interest led to many shameful situations (Article 15). But political parties did not bother to take any action – did not even question about these. If there is no party system, such callous neglect of peoples’ interest will not arise.
Most parties have large army of grass root level workers. The main (or only) interest of these workers is safeguarding party interests. They often start inter party disputes and quarrels. Resort to violence is quite common and even murders have occurred. Now the country has the burden of tackling problems created by these workers with conflicting ideologies and without any vision about national interests. It is possible that political parties may have created Frankensteins over which they will have no control in future. All these can be prevented if there is no party system.
Another problem is that their hero worship has led to many unfortunate situations such as blindly supporting undesirable or criminal activities of their heroes and side tracking of honest persons who could have helped the country. These can be prevented if there is no party system.
A similar situation prevails among college students who are carried away by party interests and create campus problems. Attention of these young minds is diverted from their studies and a positive attitude to peoples’ problems to a negative one of raving and fighting for party interests. If there is no party system, diversion of interest from studies and fights among college students can be avoided.
These young minds are also misguided by disqualifying behaviour and attitudes of some present day politicians (Article 19). When these fertile minds grow up in this background they will imbibe undesirable traits. They will become faction leaders, manipulators and traders of hatred. This explosive situation can lead to many undesirable outcomes in future. These undesirable developments can be avoided if there is no party system.
Political parties use their large army of grass root level workers to cleverly manipulate creation of caste, linguistic, religious and other group conflicts as well as cliques, crimes and other situations to safeguard their selfish interests. They are also used for spreading rumours. Top leaders of parties do not curb criminal behaviour of members. Thus, political parties are responsible for crimes and creation of hatred and violence in many parts of the country. Crime, hatred and violence will be reduced to a large extent and peace will prevail if party system is abolished.
While people are suffering from hunger and poverty, most political parties spend huge amounts to celebrate party events. If in power, they manipulate to use tax payers’ money for these celebrations. For example, UPA-2 spent about Rs. 30 lakhs for hosting a dinner for their third anniversary bash. Atrociously, this single meal cost Rs.7,700 per head as compared Rs.22.42 and Rs.28.6 considered sufficient by Planning Commission for total daily expenses of the poor in rural and urban areas respectively!! More shocking is that bulk of Rs. 30 lakhs came from Ministry of External Affairs. “Taxpayers’ money was treated as if it was the party’s to burn” (Deccan Chronicle dated 1-10-12). If there is no party system, all these (and some more hidden misuses of money) can be avoided.
As stated by Chief Information Commission, six major political parties are “substantially financed” by central government (DNA dated 04-06-13, front page). Large amounts are also spent on providing security to top political leaders, besides deputing many police officials. If there is no party system, public funds to support political parties can be used for benefit of people and diversion of police from their normal duties can be avoided.
“Illegal money circulates at every level in every party.” (Deccan Chronicle dated 25-01-12) Political parties, being beneficiaries of black money, are a root cause for its creation and sustenance. Abolition of party system will lead to substantial reduction in black money.
Another serious problem is creation of duel power centres (multiple in case of coalition governments) which lead to obstacles and delays in decision making. These can be avoided if there is no party system.
An editorial in Deccan Chronicle dated 4th December 2012 also highlights harm done by party system: “The trouble with us is we have become too politicized a society and cannot look beyond our nose. The culprits are political parties, not the people.” If there is no party system, distracting politicalization of society will not happen.
In a TV discussion, a former police commissioner stated that police have now become an “armed militia of the politicians in power.” (Deccan Chronicle dated 06-02-13, page 8). “Today, our political leaders not only want the police to do their dirty work but also to collect money for them.” Abolition of party system will free police from malignant and suffocating political control and improve law and order situation in the country by leaps and bounds.
Political parties have to amass huge amounts of money to fight elections. For this, illegal activities and generation of black money which harm the country are resorted to. Use of money also leads to dishonest voting in elections. This dismal situation can be avoided if party system is abolished.
These important aspects constitute the thirtieth (may be the most serious) obstacle which resulted in a distorted and ineffective democracy.
To overcome this most serious obstacle, we have to seriously and objectively ask ourselves whether having party system helps or hinders democracy.
It may be argued that having political parties help in two ways: (a) they can serve as peoples’ voice as their representatives and (b) provide a check on misgovernance by party in power. Both can be done effectively (unlike at present) by efficient elected representatives with out forming political parties.
With regard to (a), representativeness has been denied because a party can at best get only less than 35% of votes. With regard to having a check on misgovernance by party in power, these Articles show that they have in stead become a root cause of misgovernance!! Various instances of unquestioned shameful situations and callousness for peoples’ welfare show that political parties have not only failed miserably in exercising this check (Article 15) but by their connivance encouraged and is encouraging continuation of some shameful situations (e.g., helping the rich and not the poor).
Even if party system can improve and succeed in providing proper checks on governance, another basic question is: how can political parties justify their position under a democracy when (a) they get only less than 35% of votes cast, despite getting a good proportion of votes by using caste manipulations, money or threats, and (b) they do not have internal democracy?
Evidently, there is no real advantage in having party system. On the other hand, abolishing it has the 17 advantages listed below:
If political parties are abolished:
1. Elected persons can act with freedom to ensure peoples’ welfare.
2. Talented elected representatives will be allowed to act keeping benefit for the country in mind.
3. Large gold mines of talents outside political parties can be used for benefit of the country.
4. Legislations with an eye on votes will not occur.
5. Callousness in preventing shameful situations for the country due to diversion of interest will not arise.
6. Creation of large army of grass root level workers by political parties has led to massive diversion from peoples’ interest to party interests and has resulted in conflicts and crime. It is possible that political parties may have created Frankensteins over which they will have no control in future? These can be prevented.
7. Blind hero worship of leaders (even those with criminal background) and side tracking of honest and efficient leaders can be avoided.
8. Diversion of interest from studies and peoples’ interests among college students can be avoided.
9. When young people with party interests grow up they are likely to imbibe some undesirable traits and become faction leaders, manipulators and traders of hatred. These undesirable developments can be avoided.
10. Because political parties manipulate creation of caste, linguistic, religious and other group conflicts as well as cliques, they are often responsible for crimes, hatred and violence in many parts of the country. These can be avoided.
11. Wasting huge amounts of money on party celebrations can be avoided.
12. Public funds need not be wasted for funding political parties. Spending large amounts and diverting police for security of politicians can be avoided. The savings can be used for benefit of people.
13. Will lead to substantial reduction in black money because political parties are beneficiaries of black money and a root cause for its creation and sustenance.
14. Creation of duel power centres (multiple in case of coalition governments) which lead to problems, obstacles and delays in decision making can be avoided.
15. Because of political parties, society has become too politicized and cannot look beyond their nose. Such distracting politicalization of society can be avoided.
16. Will free police from malignant and suffocating political control and improve law and order situation in the country by leaps and bounds.
17. Political parties have to amass huge amounts of money to fight elections. For this illegal activities and generation of black money which harm the country are resorted to. Use of money also leads to dishonesty in voting. These can be avoided.
This objective analysis clearly shows that advantages of not having party system far outweigh advantages of having it, even if they can provide an effective check on government (which has not happened). Party system becomes even alarming and harmful when members of political parties suffer from many disqualifications and have become enemies of democracy (Article 19).
Evidently, there is absolutely no doubt that political party system should be abolished. A better alternative system with more effective checks on governance is discussed in a later article.
You can help to save our sinking democracy by making as many people as possible aware of these obstacles and possible solutions, through personal group discussions, newspaper articles, e-mail and social media like face book and twitter so that we can have healthy debates and arrive at some innovative ideas to save our sinking democracy.
Comments (especially those which point out errors or deficiencies, if any, in this article and thereby help to improve it) and suggestions to overcome this obstacle are welcome. Please send these to StartRemovingBlocks@outlook.com. I shall make use of all befitting suggestions to modify the outline of the revised system of democracy (Article 24).