Curtail Autocratic Party Bosses

The Union Cabinet is reported to have decided to introduce in Parliament amendments to the anti-defection provisions of the Tenth Schedule.

A Difficult Time for Politicians

All democracies are prone to a healthy dose of skepticism about their politicians. Once the distinguished chaplain of the US Senate Reverend Everett Hale was asked, “Reverend, do you pray for the Senators every morning?”. He replied calmly, “ No; I look at the Senators, and pray for the country”.

Life Imitating Art and Deja Vu

For observers of Indian political and public scene, life does seem to imitate art.  Just when you think things will settle down, and the nation will focus on the key goals, there is a new scandal or scam or sensation or drama. Like in a soap opera, week after week we are subjected to titillation, suspense and excitement, sans good sense or clear direction. This week’s theme is oil dealerships, and the nepotism and corruption associated with selections. Once again, legislators are up in arms, parliament is paralysed, grave statements have been issued, and speeches have been made.

Political Process – Problem or Solution?

On June 28, the Election Commission gave effect to an earlier judgement of the Supreme Court by making candidates’ disclosure of criminal record, educational qualifications and financial details mandatory. This was based on the Supreme Court’s decision that the electors have a right to know about the candidate whom they choose for public office. As the Court pointed out, the Commission has the authority to act under Article 324 of the Constitution, and wherever there is void in legislation, it ought to step in.

Perils of Westminster Model

The events of the past one month in Maharashtra hold a mirror to the crisis in our democratic polity.  Once again, the nation witnessed buying and selling of legislators, party hopping, back room deals, political instability, holding MLAs captive in tourist resorts in other states, a vote of confidence, and the usual scramble for loaves of office in the impending cabinet expansion.  This has been seen in several states all over the country over the years.  Now this culture of ayarams and gayarams has inflicted a grievous blow to India’s most prosperous state.

Politics of Fiefdoms

The Gujarat carnage over the past few weeks and the continual Kashmir imbroglio deflected national attention from a momentous event in the evolution of our democracy. On May 12, we have successfully completed 50 years of our parliament. This is a rare achievement among post-war democracies. There is a lot to celebrate. We are a robust and cheerful democracy. Our people treasure the freedoms guaranteed to us under the Constitution. Elections have been held to Lok Sabha under the Constitution of our new republic without break since 1952.