Building a Better India-Part2: Transforming political landscape
Dalbir Chhibbar 06 June 2014

Elections always show us the best and the worst of Indian political life. Coming fresh out of a historic election, we can take a look at re-inforcing the best in our political system

Surely, It is unfair to bracket all politicians as corrupt, dishonest and irresponsible. There are those who shine through all the bad eggs. But on the whole the political system and our electoral politics has lost a lot of its credibility. Money and muscle are essential to many campaigns. This is especially true in elections and these violations do not get the same coverage as the Lok Sabha elections. In essence, a lot needs to be done to clean up the system that elects those who govern us.

Following are suggested changes and reforms in political set up that may go a metre and a mile in making this happen:-

1. Reduce the number of Rajya Sabha members ( better called power centres) from 250 to just 100 with 15 nonpolitical eminent citizens .A crowd of 250 is a waste and 100 wise people are sufficient to debate and offer suggestions on legislations passed by the parliament.

2. Abolish the institution of Vidhan Parishads in states, even though these exist in only 7 out of the 29 Indian states.

3. The winning candidate must secure a minimum of 35% of the valid votes cast or else the top two candidates should contest a fresh round of elections to decide the winner. This much like the Run-off system followed by many contries of the world. This will help counter the mockery of democracy when in a multi-cornered contest a candidate getting less than 25% votes gets through as a winner.

4. Fix an age bar of 75 years for politicians. And no one should be allowed more than 3 consecutive terms as PM or CM, howsoever, popular or efficient that individual may be.

5. To help election of good and deserving candidates, prevent buying/ selling of votes by money or other means.

6. To prevent caste-based voting in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana make a law that a person of the majority caste in a given constituency cannot stand for election.

7. To save time, money, and the circus of frequent elections, elections for the Parliament, Assembly, Civic bodies and Panchayats should be held simultaneously. It remains to be seen, based on the resources of the Election Commission, how deep we can go with this idea of simultaneity. It may or may not be possible to cover the civic body or panchayat level in this regard, but serious thought in terms of the centre and state elections need to be given.

8. The elction of office bearers of political parties should compulsorily be held once in 5 years under the control and supervision of the Election Commission.

9. The annual accounts and finances of political parties must be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the report tabled in the Parliament/ assembly and published in newspapers. Political parties must opt to come under RTI Act. The large number of non-serious/phoney political parties registered with Election Commission primarily formed with the objective of storing ill-gotten wealth and to circumvent taxes must be deregistered, and some suitable criteria for registration as a political party should be put in place.

10. After the never before seen marketing blitz by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), all the other parties were busy pointing fingers at the BJP for having beaten them at their own game. Accusations of monetary improprieties were flying left, right and centre. After the drubbing that many national and regional parties had to suffer, even they seem to have started warming up to atleast discussing the idea of state funding of elections. This is a debate whose time has come.

11. At least three chief ministers of large states, and one from smaller states must be a part of the Union Cabinet on a one year rotational basis. This will ensure that views of states are considered on all important national issues and decisions. A separate central Ministry of Coordination could be created with 5 ministers to foster coordination between centre and states of north, south, west, east and north eastern parts of the country, and also to ensure proper and timely inter-ministerial coordination.

India will get the democracy it deserves and this year's elections have proven almost all pundits wrong, about the way the electorate thinks and votes. Maybe, in the coming years , these ideas can prove many other notions about the complex democracy that  India is wrong.

(Kolkata-based Dalbir Chhibbar practised as a CA till 1990 and later started his own buinsess)

You can read the first part of the article here

Narendra Doshi
8 years ago
Second part is also worth implementation, like the first one.
shadi katyal
8 years ago
The very first change is in the Constitution to empower the people of India to nominate and elect their own representative. Present nomination by parties must end .
2.Since the population has increased why not seats in Parliament or redistribution of voters?
The office of Governor and specially Lt. Governors must be abolished as CM should be responsible for the state.
Unless people are empowered we will not see any development of human resources as voters are led like sheep to slaughterhouse of voting by being told who to vote.
India Democracy is a farce as it is By the Party for the Party and off the party but not of the people.
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