Sunday, June 15, 2014

Modi Remodelled Indian Democracy

       2014 election result remodelled Indian democracy. It fetched a landslide victory to Bhartiya Janta Party(BJP). Additionallly, it changed the shape and set-up of India's well-established democracy. One, it strengthened the institution of Indian democracy more than BJP, which is yet to be noticed by our voters. Two, it transformed our age-old democracy into a two-party system from single-party system in practice. Though, India has multi-party-system. Still, this peculiarity is invisible, under the cover of magnetic flux of  Charismatic Modi. 
          Indian representative democracy is based on a multi-party-system in theory. This looks good on paper but not in reality. There are four types of contesters in any election, namely national party, regional party, registered party and independents. In national elections the effective players are national parties as compared to three  others.
          To be a national party, a political party requires to secure at least six per cent of the total votes polled in any four or more states and win four seats from any state or states in Lok Sabha. Another criterion for a national party is that it must secure a  minimum two per cent seats(11) of total (543) Lok Sabha seats.  These eleven members  must be elected from at least three different states. Based on these criteria parties like BSP, CPI(M) having influence in a few states, are national parties.
          Like many national parties, BSP has a strong hold in UP. It could not taste power anywhere except UP. But, it enjoys national party stature. Technically it fulfils the criteria.  Theoretically, it appears appealing. But practically, it does not discharge the duties of a national party in true sense like putting candidates across the country to make elections tougher, better and more representative. Similar conditions are with  many other national parties.
          After independence, our country has predominantly single-party-system in practice till 2014.The Congress was exclusively single party which put candidates in most of the states across the country. For the  first time, BJP behaved like Congress in putting candidates. AAP tried the same without national tag but failed miserably. None other party put candidates on national scale in true spirit of  being a national party.
          In fact, if we focus on ground reality, we find two-party-system in our democracy in practice. Before 2014 election, it was predominantly  single-party system with Congress in sight practically. Even though, we have multi-party system in theory.  Two and multi party systems have their inherent merits and demerits. Single-party system is also in practice. America has two-party system while China has single-party system.
          We select genius through competitions and try to elect genuine and reasonable candidates  in elections. Tough and multi-cornered competitions  with national players provide a better opportunity to select more meritorious candidates. In Indian elections, all the four types of candidates testify their genuineness to be selected as MPs. It would be better and healthier for the democratic system that if in national elections, most of the candidates are from national parties rather than regional and independents.
          Generally, independents dominate the list of candidates. National parties' candidates are few in numbers and most of them are from name-sake national parties.  Such parties qualify technically and theoretically, but don't exist across the country and have influence only in few states. Ideal situation is that in national elections maximum candidates  be from national parties- excluding name-sake national parties. But ground reality is opposite. Hence, contest in election is skewed and not as healthy as expected.
          In such situation, we are not electing our representatives as our constitution  dreams and desires. In national elections to parliament, a national player is fighting either with name-sake national candidates, regional players or independents. This does not provide healthy and sound contest for making our democracy stronger.
          In national game, national player should be in majority and it should be among themselves. But ground reality is opposite in our national electoral games. Contests are among a real national, name-sake national, regional and independent. This makes whole election process skewed and against the spirit as envisaged in our constitution. This does not seem healthy practice  and conducive for our democracy.
          There are many name-sake national parties. They put candidates in a few selected states of their regional influence. It is the Congress only that contests  in whole country barring a few seats. To put a tough and neck-to-neck competition against Congress, the BJP for the first time contested in true sense on national scale to prove itself to be a true national party in practice rather than in theory.  It came with flying colours too.
           The 2014 election transformed our  multi- party system into two- party system in reality. Now, Congress and BJP are two national parties in true sense and practice. Before this election, Congress was the only national party in practice on ground.
          BJP gave tough  fight to Congress and decimated it. Congress could not even get sufficient MPs to become recognised opposition party as per our constitutional  norms in  the Lok Sabha. In earlier elections, giant Cong  contested with name-sake national, weak regional and independents. As a result, Congress ruled India for most of the time. It was possible because Cong did not get tough competition from real national players- as they were on paper and  not on ground. As a single strong national player, Cong easily defeated name-sake nationals, regionals, and independents.
          In the absence of true national parties on ground across the country,  India witnessed single-party system in true sense till 2014-Cong only. The dream  and wish of our constitution is that our multi-party contest for healthy election and genuine representative pick, buy it could not take shape in reality and practice. Though, multi-party system is very much on paper and theoretically it sounds very attractive and  appealing.
           Modi played a triple role in 2014 election. Hence, he is three-In-One. Rest of them not performed even role of One-In-One. But, we are under-crediting Modi with only 33% on ground for bringing landslide victory to BJP. Rest of two roles are neither in discussion nor visible.
          First, Modi championed in elevating BJP as true national party on ground and in providing  majority to it. Additionally, he decorated his cap with two more feathers. Second, he strengthened democracy by strategically pushing our election to a tougher and sound competition on national scale. Third, he helped in transforming a single-party system into a two-party system in true sense and reality. Albeit, we talked of multi-party, which is more on paper than ground.
          Modi created history in 2014 election. He served the nation by changing and remodelling Indian democratic set-up. After election,the way he is trying to set rolling his government is another indication of remodelling with a focus to fullfil electoral promises made and expectations raised. Now, Modi proved himself a champion for changing the long routine pattern into a new democratic style.
          After election, Modi is making an all out effort to run an accuntable and efficient government. He has put some restrictions and given guidelines for his ministers, MPs and party position holders. None can employ relatives as private secretaries to avoid easy corruption link and blame. Another astonishing effort, outspoken Modi is in mute mode- Mr Chupendra Modi.
          Electon result and Modi's new style of governance have created a big challenge and vaccum for other regional and national parties. They are pondering, how to start and do politics in order to adjust into new remodelled situation. Modi has occupied political space.
          To snatch some space, all other parties need to draw a big line as they are not in a postion to erase. This appears a remote chance in near future. It will take time for others to imbibe and reorinend themselves in new political situations.