Party Politics Must Go

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I am sure I won't be too incorrect if I say that in today's political process within the country; it's the political party that plays a bigger role than the candidate himself. Most of the voters don't necessarily vote for an individual rather the banner under which he is fighting.

The cadre votes and the caste votes are mainly reserved for some of the specific political parties. If it's Muslims, they would typically want to go in for a non-BJP party in most of the occasions while the dalits for Bahujan Samaj Party if the elections are in UP, upper caste votes would mainly go in for the BJP especially the Brahmins and Bhumihars and so would the Yadav votes to mainly Mulayam's Samajwadi party or Lalu's Rashtriya Janta Dal.

Every party banks on some its cadre and caste votes. The result is that you may get a charismatic Chief Minister and certain others; however, your majority would be those who don't even know how to spell their names correctly.

Recent elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are the best examples. Trinamool won not because it had fielded some of the best candidates but because the sentiment was for a change irrespective of the fact that at least 65% of its candidates have criminal cases against them.

Jayalalitha didn't win because she had fielded the best candidates although she herself is engulfed in many a corruption cases. She won because the people were a little more fed up with Karuna's and his party's involvement in corruption.

Today is a scenario in the country where even a dog can win an election for the party if the sentiment is towards it just that the parties don't want to make so much of mockery of the Indian public. The day isn't far when you could even see that by your naked eyes.

Let's look the other way now. Panchayati Raj is a system implemented to empower the people at the village level where people who win/lose are not because of their affiliations but on the merit of their performance and deliverance. It may not necessarily be true all the times but at least the elections are held on that premise. There is no biased or prejudice because of the political parties influence. Indeed it becomes easier to tackle the corruption at the Panchayat level punish the guilty as they don't have any backing of the cadres or political parties to influence anyone. All elected members are still by far reside within the jurisdiction of the District Magistrate who, if good, can make a drastic positive change in the way development work is affected in the villages or the blocks.

Similarly, there was an attempt by the Mayawati government to introduce the same concept at the municipal level. I am not sure to what level did it reach but having community leaders stand up for such elections is a good way of rooting out the party politics from such important offices. It is always easy to fight an individual than a party when it comes to fighting corruption. Remember, in the former case you are fighting with any sentiment unless the elected independent leader has grown beyond a certain stature which to me appears as a thought and possibility of yesteryears.

One of the most important reasons for good people not to participate in India's electoral process is also because of the growing clout of the party politics. Any party requires just one term at the office to make their good and have enough money to influence the voters the way they want unless there is a whole lot of incumbency against you like what happened in both WB and TN elections recently, former for "Poribortan" while latter "Against Corruption" although there was no reason to believe that next government would promise better on these grounds at all.

I strongly feel that we need to have the same "party devoid" electoral process both at the state and the centre level. Essentially, what we need the best of the people to come and be our representative, leaders who don't practice few things at all like murmuring the same thing as the party leadership keeps a line on. They shall not act as a proxy on behalf of the top leaders of their party. Parties like BJP or Congress who don't really have a definitive ideology, just play by the game. BJP is still more rightist and hence one can gauge that most of its members will have the same thought process on certain key policies however not really on any major national policy when it comes to development of the country.

Their similarity of thought process is generally seen only in the cultural and social facets of policymaking. Irrespective of what an individual leader of the party thinks on a policy matter, parties just issue a whip and all have to align with it. If you don't align with that thought process or decision, although you may be right, there is this disciplinary action awaiting you with a show cause notice leading to expulsion in most of the cases or strict warning so that you keep your mouth shut for years to come.

I don't think the people voted you to keep your mouth shut or tow the party line but the leaders can't help it. Leaders should be such who have their own voice and not something that they keep loaning from their party leadership.

Secondly, a leader needs to be one who has sound educational background, is competent, and has equal opportunity of winning an election given a chance. The kind of political process that exists today doesn't let that happen. An independent, unless carrying a very good social image, has literally minimal to no chance of winning an election given that he is fighting against a whole system which is backed by caste and creed more than his intellect and wisdom.

It's pretty much the reason why even Anna Hazare said that he won't fight elections because voters can be easily lured for many different reasons. If you don't give a conducive environment to your voters and candidates, how can you really call your election process sound? It was biased and it is so even today unless you remove the malicious nature of the party politics. You would not want your candidate to be seen based on what caste or religion does he belong to, right?

Thirdly, we can keep making regulations that criminals shall not fight elections but that doesn't help. Most of the party candidates have criminal background. On most of the occasions, the parties themselves give tickets to the criminals because they want to win the seats. They know that these musclemen with the party cadre votes can always cross the finish line. They also know that given the judicial system in India, it's very easy for an accused to wait for years before he gets convicted. Until then he can keep making petty or serious crimes yet fight and win elections.

Hence the need is to change the process itself by removing the party politics system from India which encourages such practice irrespective of what the voters feel. When you only have individuals fighting elections, it is purely based on their competency rather than any party backing of cadre or caste votes with only one goal of winning by hook or by crook hence it gives almost an equal chance and opportunity for anyone to win. Can't this happen that caste votes still go to the independent who is from his/her caste, well, that is still highly possible but then what will go against the candidate is his lack of competency and criminal background, which in case of party politics, is overlooked entirely by the voter.

Fourthly, voters today don't just see the local picture rather also the regional picture. Any sentiment towards or against a party can act in its favor like what happened in Bihar, to make Nitish win at all costs to avoid Lalu's Lantern Age. This regional view itself is a biased way of looking at elections. Voters shall be only concerned about what type of leader do they want for their constituency rather than trying to make the candidate win with the premise of making a party wins the elections.

Lastly, today if a good candidate, even if he wants to fight elections, has to either join an established party to win or go thru the rigorous process of creating a party from start until the end. Looking at the mammoth exercise, his heart swells midway and a single defeat can dissuade him from remaining in the election/political process. What will you call it if not a prejudiced approach of the current political process? It is so easy to get into the political process but it is so difficult to win irrespective of how good the candidate may be against a dog like candidate of an established party. That's the reason why we have so many criminals sitting in the parliament or the state assemblies.

We need the best of 543 to represent us in the parliament and the required in the state assemblies of the respective states. Idea shall be to just get these best people from within us without the use of any bias against them. If we really need to achieve it, we will definitely need to get our national and state politics manage the same way how we manage the Panchayats or the municipalities of few states. Let these independently elected people choose the Prime Minister from amongst them and let the Prime Minister then choose his ministry from these 543 men/women. Let all give their own thought in the policy making instead of acting on the whip of their parties. Also remember, unless we press for it, today's political parties would never want to have it implemented ever.


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