Towards becoming a matured democracy

India is today the largest democracy in the world .But, we Indians should take some time off to analyze this fact. The picture has not been as rosy as it seems. Democracy is five decades old in India. But has it grown or is it moving in the right direction? India is undoubtedly the largest democracy. But is it a successful one?

In India, democracy is a mere fight between innumerable political parties that mushroom with every single issue. But, every time an election is held, Indians are a touch concerned about one thing: “hung parliament”; a condition in which no single political party gets an absolute majority. The only way out is the formation of a coalition government. With a coalition government comes, anxiety, dirty political tricks, eventually holding the democracy at ransom. Thus, it can be said that cause of many evils that afflicts our political system is because of coalition governments and hung parliament. And the root cause of coalition governments is the multiparty system followed in India.

Multiparty system allows innumerable political parties to thrive.. Coalition governments are formed with a national party taking the lead and regional parties playing second fiddle. Such arrangements formed usually only on the basis or greed for power, rather than political philosophies or moral values has been the bane of Indian politics. In such coalitions, the first casualty usually is national interest. When the regional parties who hold the national parties at ransom for petty political gains, matters related with national importance takes a back seat. Since the chances of regional parties withdrawing their support always exists, they end up being the kingmakers. In case the regional parties withdraw support, an election becomes imminent, thereby resulting in the wastage of taxpayer’s money. Under such an atmosphere of doubt, how can a democracy in its true form exist? How can the government policies be implemented effectively? When coalition formation becomes the paramount issue, parties resort to horse trading thereby touching the nadir of political decency. This will involve barons as well, who by contributing the money, will control the path of administration.

This brings us to the question about the means to get out of this situation. The most effective solution is a conversion to bi-party system as done in UK and US. This can do way with the ills of coalition politics, such as elimination of chances of a hung parliament or an unstable government. A government can be sure about the allotted timeframe for administration. This will help them in effective governing. But how able will this method be in India, is the multi dollar question, as Indian situation is quite different from the US and the UK. India’s identity itself is her diversity. With so many diverse cultures, the problems afflicting the masses are entirely different; the threads that bind them are different. Under such circumstances, a part rooted in the soil alone can understand and solve the problems.

This means that changes should be made at the elementary level, where a discipline and professionalism should be introduced in our political system. Qualification should be made mandatory for politicians. The parties should be selective in giving tickets to the candidates, and those having a criminal background should be permanently barred from contesting elections. Moreover, the attitude should change. The parties should have a ‘nation-first’ approach. The parties, ruling and the oppositions should work as a team, instead of indulging in head-locks with each other. A more solid anti-defection rule should be implemented, not allowing the politicians to change loyalties between parties.

Though these may appear too utopian a policy, these are the only things that can bring about a change in the way our political system works. Lets hope that steps taken in this direction materialize, thereby making India a matured democracy.
Regil Krishnan

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