Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lamp Posts in Parliament! 'Party Whip' keeps SHEEP in line!

In 1951, at the height of it's popularity with Nehru at the helm, the slogan for Congress was that "even a Lamp-Post bearing the Congress ticket should be elected."

Unfortunately, in today's parliament we only have LAMP-POSTs - Insignificant MPs, who get elected in the name of the party and then herded like sheep in the parliament - using Party Whip.

Is this the democracy we hoped for...should we try to change this ….read on…..

In 1951 - Did the slogan mean that being on a ‘Congress Ticket’ was enough to be a good MP or they didn’t care whether MP candidate was good or bad?

It seems Pandit Nehru did care about the Credibility & Competence of an MP, because he had MPs in his cabinet from across the parties (not just the Congress MPs) based on their competence & credibility.

Unfortunately today's political parties have taken that 1951 slogan literally. Political parties today use their MPs as dud lamp-posts which have no bulb and spread no light.

Once in a while if there are aberrations and MPs act as per their conviction & conscience - they are reprimanded or even shown the door. Meaning, if any lamp post chooses to use the bulb and starts spreading the light - party leadership pulls the main plug - to keep the lamp post there - just standing - dark.

The recent case in point would be that of Mr. Dinesh Trivedi - MP from TMC who was briefly made Railway Minister to be unceremoniously removed Ms by Mamata Banerjii, because in preparing the rail budget – he used his own judgment and conviction and did not follow her agenda.

How can we have a vibrant democracy when all knowledge, intelligence & competence is expected to reside with party leadership and MPs are mere sheep to be herded in parliament and made to VOTE as per the whims and fancies of the party bosses using PARTY WHIP. 

This is plain UNDEMOCRATIC!

Such control of party leadership using Party Whip leads to situations where a party which voted YES on an issue, when in power, suddenly does a volte face and votes NO, once in opposition - with MPs having no say to follow their conscience or constituency, as they would be fired if they defied PARTY WHIP.

Will this happen in any other functional democracy - In US, Congressman & Senators are free to vote as per their conviction and opinion of their constituency on any and every issue.

Their own parties have to work hard to convince the Senators/Congressmen to vote along the party line - but no one can be forced using a Party Whip.

Given that our average Indian MP is just a SHEEP, herded by the party bosses using party whip (as the name suggests), he/she has no importance or credibility in the eyes of the voter. No wonder we end up getting political family scions, corrupt & criminal of our society as our MPs.

Is this the DEMOCRACY our forefathers fought so hard for?

Having been elected by lakhs of voters - our MP's credentials and competence should be of great importance & significance to the voters & the constituency.

Hence we must strive to break this WHIP monopoly of party bosses by fielding Committed & Credible leaders of our Society as our MP Candidates. Existing parties will not allow this, as the party bosses won’t let go of the control.

New Political Formations – like Nav Bharat (  - are attempting this and we must support them.