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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Party Centric Polity is Ruining INDIA!

Both Congress & BJP are loosing the plot on leadership - The First Post article (below) symbolizes the rot in PARTY CENTRIC Indian Polity. 

The 'Weeping Oldies' of Congress who were supposedly traumatized by YUVRAJ's emotional speech provided a comic relief. Last time they all cried was when Sonia Ji decided to let go of PM post. One really wonders as to how these politicians have sold their soul and are bereft of any self-respect to behave like such helpless sycophants.

However, the larger question is, whether our country is safe in the hands of such politicians? The answer seems NO!

Rahul is far from being a successful leader to rescue the congress given his repeated electoral failures and lack of interest in matters of national concern & importance. The YOUTH LEADER was hiding when nation was burning during recent anti-corruption and gang-rape agitations.

Many Congress politicians would have better credentials & more experience than Rahul, but why is it that only a GANDHI is looked upon to save the Congress.

The reason is our PARTY CENTRIC politics. This system is designed to have only family, sycophants and incompetent grow in party ranks, just to ensure that there is no challenge to the dynasty and the leaders, who hang around with vice like grip on the party till they are no more.

Tickets are given not to the MOST QUALIFIED & BEST SUITED candidate, but to those who are pliant and will pose no challenge.

Even after winning their seats, our MPs are like a herd of SHEEP who look at their leader's face to decide whether to shout or raise their hands to vote in the parliament. The party whip has effectively killed the democracy in India and has filled our parliament with ROBOTs who sing & dance to the tunes of their dear leaders.

If all the wisdom and knowledge resides only with the PARTY LEADER, why do we do this 5 Yearly farce of electing these MPs, wasting so much money and creating a big show of pseudo democracy.

Our constitution wasn't designed for this farce. Till Mrs Indira Gandhi got it amended. India's first & subsequent Cabinets were comprised of Ministers, who were the MPs from the parties with diverse view points and ideologies. Prime Minister (like the US President) chose his Cabinet based on the competence of the MPs not based on their parties. This way he could get best of the Parliamentarians to do the Ministerial job. Parties and individual MPs supported or opposed bills and motions based on their respective constituency views & ideologies.

Those parliamentary debates were a pleasure to watch. The committed & capable of society entered politics as they wanted to serve the nation and had freedom to express their views & raise the issues in the Parliament without worrying about party whips.

Today's parliament is devoid of the wisdom of individual MPs. Excellent Parliamentarians rot because they are not pliant to the party bosses. Party is run like a personal fiefdom of party leaders who treat their MPs like underage kids. I am witness to the situations where MPs have made extraordinary efforts to even get an appointment with their Presidents/Leaders, forget about raising issues in Parliament. Most don't get to speak even once in 5 years.

We pose our faith in democracy & elect our MPs. We expect them to use their experience, knowledge and best judgement to debate & decide on various policies, issues and legislate, but in the reality it is just few party bosses who have hijacked our democracy.

Ours is a Failed Democracy and Inefficient Monarchy - Mrs Sonia Gandhi passes on the Congress throne to her yet to be proven son and RSS forces Mr. Nitin Gadkari, who has had less than glorious first term, on to the BJP as President.

Long live DEMOCRATIC (?) India!