• kewal sethi

on the way to democracy


on the way to democracy

another blow has been struck for real democracy. the election commission has been asked to provide a button for ' none of the above'.

some questions –

1. what will be the colour of this button to distinguish it from others. white to denote purity of elections, black to denote the black hearts of all the candidates.

2. what will happen in a constituency if 70 % hit this white /black button; 7 % opt for party A; 12 % for party B; and 11 % for party C. will the candidate of party B be declared as the winner? if not, what is the alternative? re-election? nomination?

what would be next step? probably to ensure supremacy of the constitution. (the candidates swear affiliation to the constitution). more appropriately, it should be swearing adherence to preamble (it changes less frequently than the constitution). remember the words "sovereign socialist secular democratic republic". how to ensure that the swearing to this is genuine. the best way will be to set up a committee to interview candidates. to be acceptable, the committee should consist of some sitting supreme court judges, some retired supreme court judges and some eminent lawyers nominated by chief justice of india who can apply their 'judicial mind'. sovereign, socialist, democratic present no problems. easy to define. everyone is socialist - from ambanis to maoists. there are so many varieties of socialists that you can always belong to one of them, whatever be your inclination. and every one is democratic, some more so calling themselves 'people's democratic republic' or the other way around 'democratic people's republic. it is only the word 'secular' with which you are stuck . it will be prerogative of this screening committee to define it and the definition may vary from one individual to another. the majority view will decide if the candidate is secular or not. anyway that will ensure that only acceptable persons can contest. it will then be a perfect democracy.

in order to ensure fair play, it might be advisable to dissolve the legislature about a year or two before the elections. the interim cabinet may consist of some sitting judges, some retired judges and some like minded people.

another tricky issue is the expenditure in the elections. we have heard some say that they spent so much for the elections. one went further and said that one spends so much for getting the nomination. this has to be given serious thought to. one way may be that no one will be allowed to compaign. they can write the speeches that they want to deliver and then these will be screened by the committee mentioned above and after due editing would be published by the government and distributed, all expenditure being borne by the state. with 'education for all' having been promised, these can be read and there will be no need to go to the voters. expenditure would be controlled,and with that, may be as an outside chance, corruption.

similar principles shall apply to the states also.

in due course of time, other points like inclusive growth, reforms with a human face, reservations for women etc. may come up. after all our democracy is only 70 years old. we shall deal with them at the appropriate time.

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