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Unbridled “Party Making”: Is it good for Indian democracy?

Dr Nitin Pandey

04-Dec-2011

Believe it or not, but starting a political party in India is simpler than starting a school. Get 100 signed membership letters, appoint a few office bearers, submit a written oath of allegiance to the Constitution and presto, you are now a registered political party. You don’t need a No Objection Certificate from anyone. Why you need to make your own political party or how do you plan to fund it is of no one’s interest. You don’t need to even wait for a formal letter of approval from the Election Commission of India. Can anything be simpler?

While most countries have barely a handful of political parties, India boasts of 384. Our ruling coalition, UPA, has a total of 18 parties, with 12 parties having less than 3 seats. No wonder, therefore, that with so many masters to please, Manmohan Singh most of the time seems to be in a state of inertia. Each party’s support comes with a price tag, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of agenda. Decisiveness is replaced by “compulsions of coalition”. Backroom maneuvering and political blackmail puts political compulsions ahead of decisive action, even when our Nation cries for it.

Do we really need so many political parties? Will democracy in our country suffer if we, at the very least, put stringent conditions before allowing new political parties to be formed? For 60 years the freedom to form, merge and disband political parties at will has been there, a luxury not available in any other field in India; has this strengthened our democracy or weakened it? Is it not time to revisit this freedom? Presumably the liberty to from political parties at will was given by our founding fathers to avoid stifling genuine ideological differences. They would not have imagined the present scenario and the gross misuse of this privilege by present day politicians. Politicians threaten to form their own parties not on ideological issues but on personal issues. Parties are merged more in the game of musical chairs of Cabinet berths than in meeting of minds.

An overwhelming majority of political parties are one man shows in India. Some are made because the person got expelled from another party, some because a film star wanted his own party not wanting his aura to be eclipsed by others; many parties are formed only with the purpose of parking black money. It is difficult to remember a single new party in recent past, formed because of ideological considerations. The presence of scores of parties also makes the arithmetic in Parliament and State Assemblies more fragmented and further diminishes the chance of a single party government. Large unwieldy coalitions make the government susceptible to political blackmail, increases corruption and political inertia, things which our country can very well do without.

Politicians will obviously be the loudest to protest at any proposal to restrict the unbridled freedom of “party making”, which is perfectly understandable. After all, political mess is where they cook their own goose. How can regulating the formation of new political parties stifle democracy? Just as we debate police and judicial reforms, it is now time to debate the idea of regulating the way new political parties are formed, along with other measures to cleanse the way our political system. If we fail to do that, our politics will continue to be one eternal big mess.



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Date06-Jan-16
From: This shows real exitperse. Thanks for the answer.
This shows real exitperse. Thanks for the answer.


Date14-Oct-15
From: Thanks for inncudoritg a little rationality into this debate.
Thanks for inncudoritg a little rationality into this debate.


Date30-Jan-12
From: Ankit
Things can change if youth of india are stand alone and making their own political party because 70% population of youth are in india




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