Thursday, April 2, 2009

Two Party System: India is NOT Ready for That Yet

Mr. Kulbir Singh Chadha from Rajpura has urged in The Tribune that India should adopt a two-party political system. He writes:
"The time has come when we should wake up and vote for a candidate with a clean image. The impending political instability may hamper development. Past experience has shown that regional parties have not played a constructive role, rather they have time and again brought the nation on the brink of disintegration. We too should adopt a two-party system. The countries with a similar system have done well."

I am not against two-party system. Ok, here is my take on this: India is not ready for this as yet. The way our system works, if a 2 party system is introduced, it will open the flood gates for politicians and political parties to loot the country even more. Political parties operate without accountability, the governments continue to function without keeping their promises, they are not able to curb the corruption. Infact, 2 party system is, for practical purpose, already in existence in many states. Examples include of Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, etc.

The corridors of power in such states have amply demonstrated that people frustated with the incumbent government vote (say, DMK) them out to replace opposition party (say AIDMK). Over next 5 years, AIDMK's rule will be characterized by blatant corruption, muscle-tactics, nepotism, and non-development and shameless promotion of family rule. Frustrated, the voters will bring in DMK again after 5 years and DMK will do no different as far development is concerned. Haryana has seen this time and again; Uttar Pradesh since last decade has been held captive by the 2 political corporations: Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav. All this can be summed up by one term: "Revolving Door Democracy (ROD)"

Why people do it? Why voters vote in the same party after 5 years which had been thrashed out in previous elections? Why voters indulge in this The answer is very simple: voters do not have a choice.

Now think about applying this concept of 2 party rule over the Center. Let us assume, India opts for 2 pol parties, hence Congress or UPA and BJP or NDA. The country will see the political doors revolving around these 2 parties and they will give a hoot to the masses! Each party knows now that chances of winning the next Parliamentary elections are well 50 %, hence a culture of indifference to the issues will grow. The 2 parties will become political dynasties!

Yes, two party system is good if these reforms are put in action before. Some of the examples are:

1. The 2 major political parties must have a mechanism of intra-party democracy in place. Think about it: If Congress has become a family -rule, is there anything that I-the voter- can do about it? Nothing, whether I support Congress or not, I have no control over this! I am a helpless spectator watching this hype and hoopla. Similarly, do I know what are the financial assets of Congress or BJP? No, I do not because there is no mechanisms in place that show the things clearly.

2. The 2 political parties must evolve mechanisms how candidates are chosen for the elections. Since such mechanisms are not in plcae, what we see is that come elections and all of a sudden, strangers appear on the stage: Sanjay Dutt, sitting Member of Parliament Menka Gandhi handing over the rein to her son Varun Gandhi ( Is Pilibhit a Lok Sabha constituency or Menka's personal fiefdom?), or the public is made to gulp outsiders down their neck ( Sashi Tharoor). Or criminals re given tickets: I heard Sajjan Kumar and Tytler are being nominated by Congress from Delhi. Recollect Delhi Sikh riots!

In current scenario of our democracy, at least people have the option to vent their anger by selecting from many parties. Though multi-party democracy has its own ill- consequences (hung verdicts), but the pol parties remian under some restraint.

Implement 2 party system once we have placed sound check and balances in place. Without that, the pol parties will grow into political monsters!

PS: By the way, I was checking the official website of Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana for some data about the previous assembly and LS elections and strangely, no information was there . The icon 'Election Statistics' when clicked shows this message: page under construction. Babus are sleeping! Crappy ways are maintained the government websites in India and that speaks volumes of their commitment to further the cause of transparency and accountability!).


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