Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wanted, a popular upsurge against the system

The burden of the Light By kripatirtha97@yahoo.com (Debabrata ghosh) A few persons even today, fifty seven years after he left his body, are aware of what Sri Aurobindo did in his life in Pondicherry. For people of India it is not unusual. For thousands of years the sanyasins in India lived in seclusion ...BABUL'S WORLD - http://anantaprema.blogspot.com/
India would have grown much faster than China had she not wasted much of her time in parliamentary democracy. Even Hindu-Muslim conflict would fail to be an issue under a proper political system. Sri Lanka had tried with this system but after a time she left it for a French Presidential system i.e. combining presidential rule with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister, which I think, is not suitable in Indian situation. In the French system the head of the government is the Prime Minister, who is nominated by the majority party or coalition in the National Assembly. The Prime Minister recommends Ministers to the President, sets out Ministers' duties and responsibilities, and manages the daily affairs of government. He issues decrees and is responsible for national defense. As per Shashi Tharoor
“...given India’s fragmented party system, the prospects for parliamentary chaos distracting the elected president are considerable. An American or Latin American model, with a president serving both as head of state and head of government, might better evade the problem we have experienced with political factionalism.”
Indira Gandhi, at one time thought of French Presidential system and as per some press leaks she discussed the matter with the then visiting French President. But nothing further could be heard thereafter. Only Charan Singh divulged it and opined that it was only the American system he was prepared to accept. At that time some journalists and a few veteran politicians were vocal for a change of system. But it was for a short period and then the debate failed the steam for a national issue. But what is an American system at all? In the US the President is not directly elected by the people but direct involvement of the people in general helps the President to be elected. The presidential election takes place every four years. People across the country cast their votes for whichever candidate they believe will do the best job. Votes are counted, and this is called the popular vote, but it is more than a popularity contest. This is where the Electoral College comes in.
The Electoral College is a group of people who gather to cast their votes for the various presidential candidates. When the Americans are casting their votes for the presidential candidates, they are actually casting their votes for electors, who will cast their votes for the candidates. So they form an electoral college for electing the president.When all the electoral votes are counted, the president, with the most votes gained by him or her, in this way, wins. In most cases, the candidate who wins the popular vote also wins in the Electoral College. The American President wields wide powers. The President and his or her cabinet, for example, are not members of Congress, unlike the British or Indian Prime Minister and his or her cabinet, who are all members of parliament. The all three institutions – the Congress, President and Supreme Court are so devised in a system where checks and balances in which the three branches of government work separately from each other.
Some may argue that an American President may be an authoritarian so far as the powers he/she wields. But no American President has so far been an autocrat. But in India – Indira Gandhi proclaimed emergency even not discussing the matter with all her cabinet colleagues for their approval. Moreover to offset the autocratic tendencies of the president – an executive chief minister or a governor for a state should be directly elected as it is in the US. I think that considering all the aspects of Indian situation the model of American Presidential system is the best available model for India and a change over to this model is urgently necessary. Otherwise the disrespect and loss of faith in the government may lead to anarchy. Indian cities and towns are fast being ghettos of criminals-who act under the secure umbrella of petty politicians on whom the big leaders depend in times of electoral battles.

But why it has not been discussed in national level and what are the main obstacles for a switch over? We Indians have fallen in a trap. For a change of system the matter must get approval from two thirds members of the parliament. Will they – the executives ever agree? Once elected an MP in the parliament – enjoys enormous perks and family pension securities. But apart from this official payments they get access to earn form various sources including businessmen. This evil is two-fold. First this means that joining in politics is lucrative and so the persons who have power – both money and muscle – make it do or die ventures to get somehow elected. And secondly once elected they are after personal privileges. So this is a vicious circle. More so that these people will never allow for a change of system. So this is fait accompli for India unless there is a popular upsurge against the system...

ADDENDUM- (Tamil Nadu) The two main parties are like two individual companies headed by two persons whose only motive is to keep the parties as their personal zamidaries. I can not reconcile how such a great race like to remain as the subjects of two persons. It is because of this parliamentary system. Tamils feel it not comfortable (because of thousands of years of living in other side of Vindhyas) to be ruled by the pre-dominant North Indians. This psychology has been narrowly exploited by the regional parties. As I have told earlier – this could have been avoided under a Presidential system. India as a whole suffers from not having the Tamils in the mainstream politics... Posted by Babul at 14:15:00

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