Of demonic practices in the Indian democracy
Let me start this post with a simple question “You are a Modi fan and want him to be the next Prime Minister of India. But in your constituency, the candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party seems way better than others, be it because of his agenda, thinking, qualifications etc. To whom will you cast your vote?” A little confused, eh? Yesterday, I was sitting in a coffee shop with couple of my school friends and one of them posed the same question to me. The answer I gave him is what will follow up in this blogpost.
The founding fathers of Indian democracy never wanted power to get centralized in hands of one person. That is why India was made a parliamentary democracy, wherein elections are supposed to be fought between various parties and the members of parliament of the ruling party and then elect a candidate with the conscience of all elected representatives. On the contrary, elections in US are based on presidential system of democracy, wherein people have to fight within their party to get nominated and then they fight at the national stage.
Earlier, elections were fought on the party lines with a person leading the election campaign. Often he/she was elected as the Prime minister if the party gained a majority in the house. For this general election, I see an alarming degradation and tempering of the policy of parliamentary democracy. BJP declared Modi as their PM candidate about a year back. Even AAP, supposedly a party with change declared Kejriwal as their PM candidate in a statement the day he resigned as Chief Minister of Delhi. Even congress would have appointed a PM candidate, but they did not, mostly due to the fear of the fact that Pappu is no match for NaMo.
A question would arise in many of your minds – What difference does it make if Prime Ministerial Candidate is declared prior to an election? The implications of this question will arise once the predetermined candidate assumes the office and starts working. When people vote for a party, any policy failure is seen as the failure of that government ministry. Now when voting is done for a particular person, the failure won’t be looked as the failure of the concerned department or the ministry but of the Prime Minister.
Modi and Kejriwal are no saints. They would have their preferred tastes and flavours on various issues. The problem here would be interference and the required consent of the Prime Minister on issues relevant/irrelevant to his domain. Any policy or program wouldn’t be looked as the policy of the government but the policy of that person. He will be compelled to look into matters which otherwise only the minister incharge should have taken care of. Another problem, and a rather big one, is how much power are we giving to a person. In the early 70s, a congress leader had an audacity to say that – India is Indira and Indira is India. The same Indira misused the trust bestowed by the people a few years later. Similarly, the blind trust and belief in today’s elections might just lead to another chaos, all handiwork of power being concentrated to a single person.
The one quality that lies essential for any PM is to create a team and lead. That was the system envisioned for our country. Call him weak or whatever you want him too, the fact remains that Dr. Manmohan Singh still is one of the greatest intellectuals to walk into the Parliament. And no matter how much you say that he was a puppet in the hands of “Madamji”, I don’t think she had an intellect to discuss matters of economic policies with him. Indian economy is slowing down even with an economist leading the country. There are limits as to what a particular person can do for this country. I keep on saying this in my friend-circle; we do not need a strong Prime Minister. What we need is a person who is sensible, who has an ability to listen to his comrades, can work with a team of likeminded intellectuals and should have a sense of responsibility towards the people of the country.
It’s a failure on the political class that elections are fought highlighting a single person as an answer to our country’s problem. Even more than that, it is a failure on our part, for we blindly believe our political class and indulge in so called ‘hero-worship’.
What can we, the educated class, do in this election?
Please stop hooting for any PM candidate. Study the candidates for your constituency carefully and vote for someone who you think is the best. Let go this PM debate. Leave it for the media houses. Remember that there is no messiah who can take this country forward. To quote Winston Churchill “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried”. Democracy is a slow process. It will be a collective effort of the government with the support of the people that can take this country to great heights. We do not need a godlike figure to get our country out of poverty and other evils. All we need are sensible leaders, who work hard, execute their plans efficiently and deliver their promises. That’s it! No magic wand. No hero-worship.