The last weekend was an eventful one for Indian politics. Political instability in Maharashtra had resulted in the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The BJP-Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance faltered; the latter joined hands with the NCP and INC. To add more fuel to the fire, one of the NCP leader broke off with his parent-party and defected to the BJP. Then just a few days into defection, the latter returned to his former party. What is going on in contemporary politics?
What happened last week is quite reminiscent of ‘Aya Ram, gaya Ram’ politics which preceded the anti-defection law. The phrase refers to a member of Parliament who had crossed the floor of the house thrice in just a fortnight! Incidents like these is why our legislature had to pass an act like the ‘anti-defection law.’ According to this act, an MLA (member of legislative assembly) or MP (member of parliament) loses his/her membership if they defect to another party. It however has a clause where if the total number of members who defect are at least 2/3rds, then the law won’t apply.
A democracy is built around the people’s freedom of expression in the decision making process for the nation. In a big country like India, the people (amounting to 1.3 billion approximately) express by voting for representatives whom they feel best represents them. He/she in turn sits in the respective legislative body after getting majority votes in elections.
While this idea sounds good on paper, it has been made a mockery in recent elections. Especially in the recent Maharashtra assembly elections. Leaders were switching parties like we switch between internet service providers. Wherever the benefit is maximum, political leaders flock like sheep. It is astounding that leaders do not even take into account the political ideologies that they ‘represent‘ and are flocking towards. What matters more is the ministerial position that is being offered to them and the monetary benefit at times.
The trust and faith of the people has been betrayed! Their right to expression has been violated! It is an undeniable fact that the people voted for a BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to govern the state. The act of breaking the alliance cannot be treated anything less than the violation of our constitutional values. Furthermore, the belief in the democratic system of governance has been broken and could be irreparable.
Indian democratic politics are not yet as mature as those of the United Kingdom or the United States of America, where ideological representations are taken seriously (There are a few exceptions there too). Citizens have to take the step over here. If your representative has betrayed your trust by crossing the floor, do not vote for them again. In liberal democratic systems, leaders should fear the people. Performance should be rewarded; lackadaisical approach to public offices should be reprimanded.
What can be done on the legislative front? I believe that India seriously needs to begin experimentation with ‘Right to recall‘ laws at state and central level elections. The right to recall is a law which enables citizens to end the tenure of a public office holder before it expires. Countries like Ukraine, Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom and United States of America etc. have already implemented it at local, provincial or central levels.
Today the ordinary citizen has nothing in his/her hands other than the judiciary. It too is already overburdened with pending cases (a statistic says that the number of pending cases amounts to 3.5 crore cases in courts across India) With no other way left, the citizens find themselves with just the vote. Matters such as poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, social development, infrastructural development, farmer’s crises, water crisis etc. are hanging like the tip of a sword over our heads. These matters are what need to be in the mainstream and need to take priority while talking about formation of government. Not which political party backstabbed or betrayed anoter.
For now, we can only hope that the Maharashtra government is a stable one. It is able to formulate and implement effective policies and schemes which can combat the mentioned problems of not just the state, but the nation as well. Let democracy be practiced the way it is meant to be, expressing and respecting the voice and choice of the people. You the citizen needs to step up and demand that this injustice is put to an end.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by the author are personal. TheMusing.in is a platform for people to express their opinion subject to veracity of facts.
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