Delimitation and Contempt for Politics

The Constitution mandates that boundaries of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies be adjusted every 10 years (Delimitation), taking into account the changes in population, density and other demographic variations. This exercise should be based on the decennial census.

Lessons of California Recall

This week’s recall election in California shows us how dysfunctional the democratic process can become even in a great democracy like the United States.  In spite of its spectacular advances in communications and technology and the presence of a vibrant media, Californians fell prey to the distortions of the democratic process. As a result an actor known only for his brawn and nothing else is elected as the chief executive of the largest state in the US, which also happens to be the 5th largest economy in the world.

Corruption and Economic Reform

The Prime Minister stated recently that corruption has declined on account of the economic reform process. Is it possible to substantiate this argument? Let us examine.

Reforming Democracy Need for a Systemic Approach

Whenever people in general, and pundits in particular, talk about the state of democracy in our country their discussion is limited to talking about the ills plaguing our system. We all know that flawed electoral rolls, polling irregularities, vote buying, unaccountable use of money in elections, criminalisation of politics and the curse of defections are some of the topics which keep the people engaged. Indeed, these are serious abuses of power. However, instead of simply ranting about them, why not look at the solutions in a holistic way?

Changing Players – Unchanging Rules of the Game

dir="ltr">With elections over in the four Hindi-speaking states, curtains have been drawn on one great media entertainment for the time being. The media have always treated our elections as a great game. The use of the expression “semifinal” is symbolic. But one thing is certain. There is no ‘semifinal’ or ‘final’ in a democracy. This is a continuing saga which will never attain finality, and history will never end.

The Case of the Missing TV Ads

Since the run-up to the elections for the five state assemblies four months ago, we have seen the emergence of a variety of colourful political advertisements on the TV.  But recently, the Election Commission (EC) had, very curiously, ordered that paid political advertisements should not be aired on cable and satellite TV channels.

Political Parties, Don’t Herd, Just be Heard!

The Discovery or National Geographic channels regularly show us scenes of animal herding behaviour:  the impala gazelles grazing and migrating in their thousands on the African Savanna.  Or the masses of penguins gathering to raise their young on the cold, rocky shores near the tip of South America.  Now, maybe, Hyderabad should be added to the list of favourite herding sites.  Not for wild animals, but for humans.  More precisely, for human beings who can vote.

Collective Action – Today’s Imperative

Elections are around the corner. The debate on the leadership qualities of the political party chiefs seems to have emerged as the favorite pastime for large sections of the society. Indeed, the leaders we elect to office will to some extent shape our future. However, it is we the people who have the power to determine our destiny. Examples abound which demonstrate that people through their collective efforts have changed the course of history.

Governance in States – ‘Dangerously Stable Equilibrium’

We have witnessed momentous developments during this week. The heinous Mumbai blasts killing scores of people and injuring many more, the collapse of the BSP-BJP coalition in Uttar Pradesh, and the report of ASI on Ayodhya – all these are events which could have far-reaching impact on our polity and society for some time to come.

In Praise of Political Incorrectness

The recent strike of employees of Tamil Nadu state, the firm and decisive action by the government, the mature  and  sober  judicial  pronouncements  on  the issue, the  eventual capitulation  of  the  erring employees, and the  emergence  of an unlikely  hero in  Ms. Jayalaitha hold important lessons for our polity.Over the years, politics acquired a pejorative connotation in India. Most decent and honest citizens have begun to despise the political process and shun politics. This distaste soon expanded to rejection, and mindless and intemperate criticism of all political decision-making.

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