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Is this the answer in india?

The Hindu of March 19 had an interesting article : A Gandhian idea gets a British makeover by Hasan Suroor the gist of his story about a new campaign in the UK is "A high-profile campaign, funded by a flamboyant millionaire Tory donor Sir Paul Judge was launched this week with the grand aim of reducing the dominance of the three main organised political parties (Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) by providing a platform for concerned citizens to contest elections as independent candidates on issues that directly affect the people."....."Sir Paul says it is a response to the growing disconnect between voters and the political parties that represent them in Parliament with politicians “more interested in winning elections and enjoying their lifestyles rather than improving the lot of the people or the state of the nation.” “Most MPs are now in Parliament for their own selfish career rather than scrutinising what government proposes,” he said.

Sir Paul could well be speaking about India. and if it was Gandhi who first mooted the idea of partyless elections, it has its origins in India anyway. As it stands today, in my constituency for instance, candidates have not even been announced.For strategic reason they will be announced at the very end. Members of praja's "ivote,icount" and "smartvote" have been waiting, video camera in hand, trying to get 10 mins to interview the few candidates who have been announced, but with no luck till date. These interviews are meant to be posted right here on praja so voters can get to know what their candidates think on important issues we polled right here. But the point is, we always end up voting for and so being represented by a person we dont even know, leave alone know the worth of.

So how can anyone blame a voter that ends up not voting at all. why should i vote if i dont know who to vote for? if none of the candidates really represent my interest and that of my constituency, my city? i would be first in line on election day, if , for instance, Praja member Muralidhar Rao stood for elections!!

Rithesh's picture

When did we last vote based on issues

Jenny - you said it right, it is time for some electoral reforms. May be the election commission or the Courts should take the lead - parliament will never do it.

Cant we have a law which will increase the time between the last day of filing nominations and election day to atleast 45 days. I don't see any drawback or disadvantage to any one if such a rule comes into effect - but the irony is no one wants to change the system.

A longer time frame will give the voters enough time to evaluate candidates and also gives candidates enough time to state their views and opinions and agendas.

But the most disheartening treads is that of the rise of caste/religion based voting patterns. If you observe with closely, caste seams to be becoming more and more prominent every passing election. Parties decide candidates on the basis of his caste and how much money he can spend. They dont seam to be bothered about the candidates social or educational credentials.

I dont know if we ever fought an election on the basis of issues after the 1981 election (the one after the emergency). No party seams to be talking of critical issues like - education (specifically - primary and secondary education), poverty (hunger, food scarcity, water scarcity) or agriculture development.

We as a nation have screwed up our priorities.

Jenny i look forward for your candidate profiles - hope u will also include their educational back grounds, past achievements and other relevant data.
s_yajaman's picture

Politicians are driven purely and simply by self interest (IMHO)

Firstly party-less elections sounds good in theory but may not be practicable.  Imagine 546 independents trying to pass a Bill.  Or the simple question of who will form the government.  What will majority in parliament mean?  The wise people might have thought of all the anwsers, but they elude me.  At the end of the day decisions have to be made on issues and parties being organizations with hierarchies and power structures get the job done.  My thoughts and not some noble truth.

Second, we have to recognize that politicians (like all of us) are driven largely by self interest.  Their goal is to get re-elected.  if development gets them re-elected, well and good.  If it is caste based division and polarization, then they will follow this path.  It is the job of the electorate to make sure that some of their interests overlap with their self interests.  And urban voters need to come out and vote to begin with.  A 55% turnout with booths pretty much within walking distance is simply unacceptable.

Third our participation in the democratic process ends with elections, when it really should be the beginning.  When I read blogs in the US, I read about people writing to their representatives and calling them about the bail-out, e,g,  Once we vote, we seem almost helpless to influence the course of things.  We just don't seem to have access to our MPs and MLAs.  Some system should have been put in place in the 50s itself where things like "town-hall" meetings, etc would happen on a regular basis.  Or am I being just too optimistic?

Ramesh Ramanathan has written a nice little piece called " Awakening and Relevance" and goes on to explain why the urban voter is still largely irrelevant inspite of the candlelight vigils, etc. 

I am not sure when we lost our way.





Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

jennypinto's picture

yes, their profile, their

yes, their profile, their achievements and their interviews...if we ever get them, will go online on praja, jaagore and smartvote. also, to comment on what you said. take long as most indians still hold caste above else, caste will continue to play a major role in politics. for instance, a quick look at the matrimonials in newspapers or online, will tell you where we are as a society today. if mayawati's main claim to the PM's chair is her caste, then where do we start??
lightness of being
rs's picture

No vote bank

Yes - this is an important issue. While in most cases the election is based on issues here it is based on other factors such as caste/class/religion  which have very little effect on the secular urban middle class person. Basically the secular urban middle/upper middle class has no vote bank. I have idly toyed with the idea of starting a party to cater to the secular  urban middle class professional and if indeed such a party or canditate exists then I would vote for him or her. I guess in one place - namely South Mumbai, there is such a person but he is part of the Congress.

But perhaps instead of at the national level it would be better if one had elected professionals running the city instead of the nominated officials who can be transferred at will by some disgruntled politician. I fear that the proposed elected Mayor will just become another political farce with a lot of the major parties joining in the fray and the issues will be forgotten - it will just become another battle for the lucrative infrastructure contracts that are up for grabs. And at the end of the day, well, the secular urban middle class professional will continue to suffer.

The point is this that of course at the end of the day the life of a middle class professional is much better than that of a poor villager. But it is getting worse day by day and by and large it is perhaps not true that what the politicians are doing is  improving the lives of the poor. Sure they have kicked out governments for not delivering but its not always the case that the govt that replaces them delivers a great deal either. I think people have stopped expecting anything from the government and in general happy if the things dont get worse. There does not seem to be any accountability.

jennypinto's picture more!!

 partyless government may be a far fetched idea, but then, in what way has the present party system served the national interest??
for all practical purposes, its each man/woman for himself, anyway. they switch allegiance, they horse trade,  they throw chairs, they rush to the well, they line their pockets, hoard their ill gotten gains in swiss banks........all in self interest as you 546 independants working in self interest, may work better when not bogged down with party, caste and communal politics.
my wandering thoughts, and not some noble truth :-)

your second and third points actually do  serve to make the partyless idea stronger. if there was no party line to toe, no high command to genuflect before,  the voter would be more imprtant to the MP/MLA than he/she is now. the MP, having to depend on his voter alone to get re-elected, would serve his conststuency better.
the party system protects scoundrals and encourages sychophants. the members are given tickets based on their abilit to "get" votes and nothing else.
  all this has  lead to voter cynicism and apathy.
urban votes dont count and rural votes can be bought (by and large)
are we truly a democracy??


lightness of being
murali772's picture

If only!

Jenny - If only you had made your suggestion a few days earlier:))).

Yajamaanre' - the day will be when our elected representatives come on to respond to us on an on-going basis, like Prof Ashwin Mahesh is now doing, but, in addition, in their official capacity.

I will add this to the other prayers I have made today.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
jennypinto's picture

not too late

not to late murali
last date for nominations is april 5!!
lightness of being
nishu's picture

Why can't we make a difference

Hi All,

Let we all at Praja take a pledge that whoever gets elected from Bangalore, we will go to them with all local issues and try and get as much out of them as we can.

I guess it is our responsibility as well to collectively demand good governance.

I think that it our right as well as our duty.

Just to quote a famous saying

"jaise praja waisa Raja". Suits us fine :)


Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Let us talk about Way forward..

Nishu and Dear All

you have rightly pointed out that we must demand good governance and it is our duty also.  If only we can inject this spirit of belonging into the body politic of all concerned citizens, half the problem will be solved;  

 have a look at the following way forward suggestion;

Many prajas might have seen this on one of my separate posts - however, i felt Nishu and others may get reminded about

"Stating the obvious"  or "unending cynicism" are not the solutions.

We have been dissecting and conducting postmartems for the last 13 LS elections and we have been failing miserably, the EC is failing, the administrative machinery is failing, blah, blah.   The latest being the DEO, Mysore's posting on praja about missing voters - and his straight forward talk of owning up the failure of the system and some of the cases.  He has also dared the citizens and political parties to get involved in correcting the system.  He says that the official side is ready to roll and needs the help of citizens.  

Nishu and others who are motivated - are you ready? 

OK. Let us think of solutions - plausible solutions - to move forward for a realising the dream of real democracy - not a flawed democracy:

Consider the following suggestion to whoever forms a government at the center,

Hon'ble President of India, Prime Ministerji and the council of ministers,  Please do these as your first job in order to prove that you mean business and sincerely want to cleanse the system that is afflicted with AIDS (Alarmingly  Infected Democratic System):

1. After all of you (elected reps) have /*'sworn to.....?'*/,  and at the inaugural parliament session itself, constitute a Committee on Electoral Reforms to examine all the pending electoral reforms proposals  forwarded by the Election Commission in the past and also such proposals sent by certain luminaries like LK Jain and others.

2. Also invite online suggestions from citizens - fix time frame for the Committee to prepare draft proposal of its list of reforms.

3. Publicise the list for public consumption and subject it for all kinds of debates - fix a time frame - based on the feed back, committee to finalise the Report on Electoral Reforms (2009) and submit it to Government.

4. Government to examine it, make necessary changes, if necessary in consultation with the Committee on Electoral Reforms place it on the table of the parliament - immediately fix certain days for debating the report by involving all political parties etc., 

5. Simultaneously propose necessary ordnances for amending the relevant articles of the constitution- amendments to the Peoples Representative Act and the modus operandi of implementing them through extraordinary gazettee notifications. 

Such fast track implementation of Electoral Reforms will instil a sense of confidence in the minds of the citizens and ensure that their vote will not go waste but

-  the ills of democracy will be minimised,

-  criminals will barred from contesting,

-  poll code violators will be debarred,

-  voting will be made either compulsory or incentives will be offered to to citizens for voting,

-  jumping jacks will be jettisoned from party and parliament/assembly,

-  party hoppers will perish permanently

-  recall of the unfit will ensure transparency and accountability

-  people will come forward for voting because there is a real democracy to be governed

-  scientific issue of EPIC with multipurpose usage will make it attractive.

-  technology based voting facility will enable people to vote enthusiastically  - bio-metric voting system - iris contact based online voting, left hand thumb impression identified voting facility, online voting with the help of credit/debit cards or ATM cards, voting through mobiles with built in safety and security firewalls for ensuring secrecy. 

- All are welcome to add their ONE LINE electoral reforms proposals from here and now itself.

After all it is the purpose and responsibility of all Prajegalu. Enough is enough. Yes WE CAN. also have a look at 'Success story of a street committee in Mysore' in

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