There are every indications to show that all is not well with parliamentary democracy in India. Opinions polls conducted in the country have shown that neither UPA nor NDA are likely to emerge with a clear majority after the next general elections. Under these circumstances the fingers point to a third front government at the centre. We are not advocating a third front alternative because this is the best possible one. This is just a reality and arithmetic of polls show that this is going to be the likely outcome. The next government at the centre is going to be an unstable one and it is not going to bring any significant moves by way of innovations or reform. This inability of our political system to bring into existence a credible government is a clear reflection of the failure of parliamentary democracy in India.
During the term of the present Lok Sabha the Parliament was unable to do any significant legislative business. The frequent boycott of Parliament by opposition parties rendered both houses of Indian Parliament non-functional for the greater part of its time for doing business. This legislative paralysis in turn led to policy paralysis and the country drifted into an economic crisis. Non functioning of Parliament had a great deal to do with the aggravating economic crisis in the country and the opposition parties have to shoulder equal blame for this – however much they try to shift the blame to the ruling party.
Narendra Modi had recently made a call for an India free of Congress. This is perhaps a reflection of the secret desire of BJP to rule the country without a strong opposition party in existence. Many observers have referred to the fascist nature of BJP. In any case the party’s desire for a Congress free India reminds one on the call by Hitler for a Germany free of Jews. The communal and fascist nature of India’s principal opposition party is also a threat to the survival of Parliamentary democracy in this country.
The number of politicians with criminal record being elected to our legislative bodies is again a sad reflection of the failure of parliamentary democracy in India. There are no indications that things will improve to any significant degree in this regard in the foreseeable future.
Another sad reflection of the failure of democracy in India is the extent of corruption and black money that prevails in the system. There is talk of public funding of elections. There are attempts to limit expenditure incurred by candidates in elections. But despite having framed rules to this effect, candidates openly proclaim having spent more on electioneering than the prescribed limits.
Democracy in India has not been an unmixed blessing. If the type of legislative paralysis we saw during the current term of Lok Sabha is going to extend to its future terms as well we may perhaps be better off not having parliamentary democracy as we know it. If that is going to be the case we may better be going in search of better alternatives.
Extracts from the e-book, ‘INDIA – POLITICS, ECONOMY AND SOCIETY’ written by P V Rajeev and Ravinder Jit and published by ‘Antrik Express.com’. Price: Rs90/$1.5.