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Governance after Next Elections!
by Dr. Rajinder Puri Bookmark and Share

Peace in Kashmir is shattered by a terrorist attack in Srinagar. Italy has treated India with contempt by refusing to return two marines after its ambassador gave a solemn pledge to our Supreme Court. The economy has plunged to new depths. The chief accused in the infamous gang rape case who pleaded not guilty and threatened to give fresh information was hanged in unexplained circumstances while in high security Tihar jail. His death may not have impacted the trial but may it not have disguised the whole truth? Corruption cases dating back from years continue to mount without the guilty being nailed.

In the helicopter scam the former Air Chief and relatives have been named by the CBI for having received 2 lakh Euros. Italian prosecution claims that ten times that amount was paid to “the family” in India. Whatever the versions coming out of the central secretariat the street has made up its mind. As soon as the Augusta Helicopter scam broke in Italy people on Twitter and on the street were worrying that the marines would return to Italy in return for the main recipients of kickbacks in the copter scam not being named.

There are solutions and remedial policies for each of the issues bedeviling our nation. These have been frequently written about. It is futile to repeat them. It is futile to even discuss policies.

To translate policy into action there must be a government. We have a government without a shred of governance. Indian democracy has collapsed. The Indian nation is tottering. The first and foremost need therefore is to restore a government. No hope may be placed upon the present dispensation reforming itself. One must focus on how to ensure that India gets a government that can deliver after the next general election.

The Congress is in a shambles. The BJP is horribly divided. Little hope may be placed upon either national party to emerge as a credible alternative after the next election. That leaves the regional parties that exercise influence on their respective states. Their best prospect as at present rests upon the successful working of the coalition dharma. That has never delivered in the past. It will not deliver in the future. People are sick and tired of the pulls and pressures, the pressure and blackmail, the revisions and rollbacks that have characterized coalition governments. The coalition dharma deserves burial. It must be replaced by federalism. That means a strong centre and self-ruled states. People demand stability. Governance demands authority. Policies demand direction. India demands a government.

How might that be acquired?

Regional parties must get together not in a coalition but as a proper federation. In other words the federating units may remain autonomous at the state level but must unite at the centre. This can be accomplished through the simple device of contesting assembly elections under their present symbols but contesting parliamentary elections under one common symbol. Thereby neither a party recognized at the state level nor a party recognized at the national level would lose recognition. The state party would retain its symbol at the state level. The national party would retain recognition even after surrendering its symbol at the parliamentary level on the strength of its minimum presence in the requisite number of states.

To achieve this there is first of all the need for an agreed election manifesto. There would be required the drafting of a constitution for a party that contests only elections to parliament. The norms of electing the prime minister to head the federation would have to be agreed. The norms of selecting candidates for the election would have to be agreed. All this poses no problem and can be addressed easily in the proposed party constitution. The problem is about who can bell the cat. There are three possibilities.

First, the Congress converts itself from the Indian National Congress by also floating the Indian Federal Congress to accomplish the aforesaid. Secondly, the BJP converts the National Democratic Alliance into a full fledged federation by roping in as many of the regional parties as possible and allowing its own state units to function as autonomously as all the regional parties. And finally, the regional parties get together and hammer a common programme and federal party constitution and create the federation. I see no other way by which a new alternative can emerge. I see no other way by which governance and sense of direction in India can be reclaimed. Doubtless there is much that the next government would need to do in order to introduce meaningful political reform. But for reform there must first be a credible government. To create such a credible government the Congress, the BJP or regional parties must initiate action.

Are there any takers?

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Comments on this Article

Comment "To translate policy into action there must be a government. We have a government without a shred of governance. Indian democracy has collapsed. The Indian nation is tottering. The first and foremost need therefore is to restore a government. No hope may be placed upon the present dispensation reforming itself. One must focus on how to ensure that India gets a government that can deliver after the next general election."

Every word stated by you above is a statement of glaring truth. We have repeated this so many times that the repetition itself is losing any purpose. I am glad you are moving forward to constructive ideas of how to solve the problem. They are certainly thought provoking.

03/18/2013 06:26 AM

Comment Jeti and Dinesh, you betray total ignorance about the basic principle underlying democracy! Of course all that a nation needs is good people to govern who may belong to any region or community. But who is to decide who is a good person? Opinions are subjective and differ from person to person. Therefore the opinion of the majority is allowed to prevail. That is why a prime minister who needs only majority in Lok Sabha in which he has the numbers can afford to ignore the views of MPs and MLAs he does not need. That is why the PM is subjected to pull and push of allies in a coalition.That is why UPA must bow to Mamata over Bangladesh and Karunanidhi over Sri Lanka even though these are related to foreign policy in domain of the Union government. That is why a President above such daily pressures that threaten his continuance in office can take an independent view. That is why in the absence of a single party majority a federation is preferable to a coalition. It ensures more stability.

my word
03/17/2013 22:24 PM

That the notion that - a party or the government must have representation from all regions and sections of the nation & society has a basic concept, which itself is flawed.

The conception behind is (and originated in west and adopted in east) that persons in government belonging to one section of the society or form particular region of the country can not act in balanced and fare manner to the other part of the society or the nation.

But 'this is not expected from good rulers'. The ruler must do justice to whole nation.

So, all we need is that the rulers should be just and first expectations from them should be to be just (so that unjust actions would let their dethronement
in next election).

On the other hand, representation from all section and all part of the nation wouldn’t help if they are not just and fare enough.

So, we need right people does not matter which section and which part of the nation they come from - we don’t need something special like federal party but we need right people in the parties that would have seats in the parliament.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
03/17/2013 10:46 AM

Comment I totally oppose the move for Federal Govt. There is earthquake in Indian Governance & Politics at present. This should lead to emergence of good leaders and that is what we are waiting for. Which party will produce good leaders is anybodies guess.

03/15/2013 05:06 AM

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