Our Democracy Has Done Well; But Could Do Much Better

dir="ltr">Over the years Indian democracy has certainly stood the test of time. Among the nations liberated after the Second World War, India has a unique record of successive elections and, stable and peaceful democracy.

Kelpto-plutocracy and Radical Monopoly

dir="ltr">From times immemorial, politics and business have been inextricably linked together. Clean politics needs clean money. Good and sustainable business needs political support.

Image building at public cost should end

dir="ltr">Can governments of the day advertise their accomplishments at the cost of public exchequer before elections are notified? The question needs to be answered at two levels.

Limit Contest to One Seat, or Make Them Pay

dir="ltr">Under the current law a candidate can contest from two constituencies, but has to vacate one of the seats within ten days - necessitating a by-election. The Election Commission’s (EC) proposal to bar a candidate from contesting in more than one constituency, or seek reimbursement of the expenditure for holding the by-election is perfectly reasonable and fair.

The merit of this proposal could be enhanced by not limiting it to only vacation of a seat upon being elected to two seats in the same House but extending it to occasions when:



Needed : Bold Reform, Not Legal Nitpicking


Political Rigidities and Promise of Change

dir="ltr">After days of agonizing suspense, high drama and emotions, a new Union Council of Ministers took office under Dr Manmohan Singh’s stewardship.  The sage decision of Mrs Sonia Gandhi to stand aside has enhanced her personal prestige, helped the Congress party claim the high moral ground and prevented potentially disastrous national strife and polarization.

It is the States and Governance, Stupid!

dir="ltr">Harold McMillan famously said that one week was a long time in politics. NDA ignored that maxim in the exuberence which followed the victory of BJP in MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh in December. The stunning verdict in Lok Sabha polls brings us back to the realities of our politics.

Political ‘Entrepreneurs’ and Crisis of Legitimacy

dir="ltr">This is the first general election in which disclosure of financial details of all candidates, their spouses and dependents is mandatory, as a necessary part of the nomination. However, the media are regaling us with stories of absurd ‘disclosures’ by may candidates, concealing much more than they reveal, and making amusing reading in some cases. Why is this so?

Choice, Competition, and Politics

dir="ltr">A glaring feature of this election is the large number of politicians switching party loyalties before the polls. In states where Assembly elections are held simultaneously, these pre-election defections are even more glaring. The ninety-seventh amendment to the Constitution, which became law only a few weeks ago, disqualifies all elected legislators who violate party whip irrespective of the size of the defecting faction. The earlier provision recognizing a ‘split’ if a third of the members defect has been repealed. But no law can prevent the pre-election defection.

Priceless Opportunity Squandered by Nitpicking

dir="ltr">The recent enforcement of a ban on political advertisements on television raised some controversy. The Election Commission (EC) and the Union Government are busy throwing blame on each other for this ban. Irrespective of who is right, or wrong, this ban raises several fundamental questions about our democracy and nature of political campaigning. We need to address and resolve them speedily.

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