Article written

  • on 25.09.2009
  • at 10:31 PM
  • by uvach

Inner Party Democracy 7


Note: This is the second part of the three part series on Next Generation Electoral Reforms (other two –   Intership for MPs & MLAs , MP – M for Muder, P for Politcs ) .

One look at the leadership of various political parties in India, will confirm that our democracy is only skin deep. While the leaders give customary lip service to democracy, their autocratic streak is all too evident in their dealings within their own political parties. Not only do they shamelessly promote their kith and kins, they run their parties as personal fiefdoms. They also prevent free voicing of opinions. Any contrarian voice against the ruling clique even at ‘Inner Party Fora’ leads to swift expulsion. Even though it is now established, that dissent is the true essence of democracy, no political party in India, without exception, provides any space for dissent. How can such a situation be conducive to the growth and prosperity of democratic values in our polity?

Not too long ago, Government formation at the Center was held hostage to the the equitable distribution of power within the progeny of Karunanidhi from his three marriages. Alas! he did not command the numerical strength to justify a cabinet birth for each of his sons/daughters/grand nephews, but he gave the Congress negotiators a tough time anyway. Indian Politics ImageThe recent clamour in Andhra Pradesh for anointing the political novice son of the late Chief Minister as the next CM, is symptomatic of the same problem. Indian political history is replete with instances of dynastic successions. Led by the redoubtable Nehru-Indira Gandhi-Rajeev-Sonia-Rahul, off late this virus has been contracted by practically every state  satrap be it Lalu-Rabri & Paswans in Bihar, Patnayaks in Orissa, Badals in Punjab, Abdullahs & Sayeeds in J&K, Pawars & Thakerays in Maharashtra, Goudas in Karnataka, Mulayam clan in U.P., Karunanidhi clan in TN etc. . The examples are endless on both sides of the divide. The oft repeated, specious argument that one should not object to politician’s son being a politician when there is no objection to a doctor’ son becoming doctor, engineer’s son being engineer etc., does not hold much water. The objections are not just based on the sons/daughters/nephews/wives joining politics but more importantly on the complete absence of any due process and the walkover awarded to these star politicians. It is almost akin to a business or a monarchical succession. Obviously it is at the cost of other more deserving leaders and it discourages those without such affiliations to enter politics.

Even otherwise, nomination of candidates for elections by Political parties is done without any tranparent due process. It is subject to the whims of the ruling clique. In some cases, sale of party tickets to the highest bidder has also come to light. It may seem like an internal matter of the respective political party, but it has an important bearing on the quality of choice (or lack of it) available to the electorate. Hence this process to needs to be brought under public scrutiny. We need to devise a model where party members duly elect their candidates for each constituency after following a due process.

Party system is an integral part of parliamentary democracy. It plays a crucial role in deciding not just the candidates but also the ‘party line’ on critical issues. This ‘party line’  is then enforced in the legislatures using the anti-defection bill, if required. Normally the political satrap’s whim becomes the will of the people. Hence political parties can not be left soley to the discretion of the  their leaders alone. They needs to be more tightly regulated by an outside agency. While the election commission mandates timely election of party functionaries, in most cases it is a mere formality. Active electioneering is discouraged and a consensus is concocted to keep the status quo going.

Inner party democracy will add more depth and meaning to our democracy. It will also have a direct impact on the kind of people joining politcs and a bearing on the choice available to the elecotorate.

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There are 7 comments for this post

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sanjay Uvach. Sanjay Uvach said: @vikramchandra @PritishNandy @BDUTT @kamla New Job Post:Charter for NextGen Election Reforms – Inner Party Democracy – […]

  2. ravi bandhu says:

    It is a well thought out assessment of indian political parties parties.Pl. allow me to add few points of mine
    1As a result of antidefection law,parliamentry debates have been reduced to colege debating society. Emphasis is on showing a closed mind party line and not an exchange of ideas to arrive at a meaningful conclusion. This was quite evident during no confidence motion against upa govt.Govt was asking for a vote of conscience but denying the same right to its own members.Division, display of notes in hall and later h00ldum against dissenters all exhibit undemocratic nature of all political parties
    2 I would like you to have a look at my blog NIRBAL’S
    CORNER’ and apprise me with your reaction

  3. danendra jain says:

    We have heard a lot about reformation, privatization, liberalization and globalization. We have also heard a lot about stable GDP growth in India despite economic slowdown elsewhere in the world. Our politicians speak without any hesitation that India is decoupled with global recession. But the fruits of reformation so much lauded by Netas are available only to handful of rich persons. Large section of population still starve and unable to earn livelihood even for survival.

    In a country where millions really starve and where a few lac of rich and affluent person live luxuriously, we cannot dream of success of any reformation policy and we cannot imagine of persistent and all pervasive development .There is no doubt that the gap between the rich and the poor will widen .It is undoubtedly correct to say that standard of living of common men is moving from bad to worst and that of rich is going up from best to the best of the best in the world. Resultant consequence of such misrule and mismanagement will be nothing but escalation in unhappiness, disturbance in low and order situation and finally erosion in social peace. Might is right will prove to be true as the time passes away. Ultimately people revolt like that of 1857 will change the structure of governance from capitalistic to socialistic.

    Danendra jain

  4. […] the first part of the three part series on Next Generation Electoral Reforms (other two –   Inner Party Democracy , MP – M for Muder, P for Politcs ) […]

  5. danendra jain says:

    It is always advisable that office bearers of an organization are changed periodically in a democratic system. At least there should be change of person every two or three years for the post of Secretary and the President in the same way as Branch head or Regional head or Zonal head or CEO of a bank is changed every two – three years.

    In a democratic country like India every political parties have been changing their Presidents periodically. Prominent Communist parties change their party president every two years. Banking Industry has inherited communist culture, but it is disheartening to mention here that staff unions and associations in these banks are dependent on a few leaders who have been occupying top posts for decades. Political parties, trust or an organization or Bank union or association of officers who consider any person indispensable on top posts are really too weak to survive for long and undoubtedly prone to corrupt practices. These organizations in fact have not developed second line of management.

    Danendra Jain
    Ganaraj Choumuhani
    7th January 2009

  6. Sudhakaran says:

    Inner party democracy is the natural rejuvenating force of democracy and the political parties. It’s Negation by the dynasties you mentioned and their caucuses in all parties and substituting it with the Consensus to expropriate positions of political power between themselves and their lackeys is the gravest curse of our Political system.
    It promotes Dynasties, lackey-ism and sycophancy in our political leadership.
    Such vicious leadership cause wide spread corruption and moral decay among the masses.

    But just writing in such forms would not cure this AIDS like curse…
    We have to do something…
    I am fighting against this manipulation by the Consensus and nomination and to bring in inner party democracy in to our political parties.

    How many of you would be in a position to contribute in any way to this struggle
    Those interested may please join the group link given bellow… group dedicated to debate, propagate and organize such a struggle to get inner party democracy in our political parties to rejuvenate them with competent men of integrity and character in their leadership
    C. K. Sudhakaran
    Web: , Mail:
    Join our Yahoogroup:

  7. uvach says:

    @Sudhakaran – We all contribute in our own way owing to our own limitations. Appreciate the initiatives you have taken and my best wishes.

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