The western mode of democracy that we are ardently following is defective in nature abilities. The defects were deliberately and definitely made for the benefit of the politicians to become more and more unaccountable. No single political party whether it is regional or national could now imagine of winning elections by staying within the stipulated norms of Election Commission or People'sRepresentation Act. The root-cause of corruption lies in the way political parties attain power. The law-makers could make any law that could put them in a safest mode. The glaring example is being ?Office of Profit Bill? passed despite stiff opposition from the learned President of India.
Donations to the party funds by industrialists and businessmen had attracted stringent opposition from Rajaji even during his period. ?All the political parities in the country?all but the Congress party?had expressed the view very strongly that companies should be prohibited from contributing funds to political parties.? Rajaji further writes in his book Rescue Democracy from Money-power that the Congress party collects funds from its fat oxen and spends the money?God knows how?so as to nullify all the ceilings and restrictions, so elaborately laid down at Dr Ambedkar'sinstance. Other political parties for the sake of survival followed the suit.
Our democracy lies in the hands of capitalists. Policies are made by them and for them. Our poor farmers commit suicides indiscriminately. They have no say even in the matter of agrarian policies. Weather factor kept apart, they have no choice other than to buy seeds and fertilizers at heavy prices provided by MNCs.
It is a fact that ambitious politicians find themselves at the mercy of parties; and parties at the mercy of financiers. Our democracy is besieged with another clog, which is poor voter turn-out. The world'slargest democratic government runs on the net voting of 10-15 per cent of total voting population with too many leg-pulling coalition partners.
It is doubtful whether Income Tax department ever scrutinizes the accounts of political parties. The accumulated wealth of each political party needs auditing by an independent and autonomous authority. The parties should publish their income and expenditure statement every year in print media. Unaccounted money, if any, should be deposited with the nation'scoffer and nation in turn should support the political parties during elections. There should be no cash transaction say above ten thousand rupees but only through cheques. Such strict monetary regimes could alone save our democracy.
Criminalisation of politics has become another menace. So many steps are advocated to get rid of this menace like strict scrutinizing during nominations of candidates. Still it is the money-power of the criminals that is being widely used by them for entering into politics. Their accounts should be freezed and their movement restricted once they are identified as criminals of great head value.
The unruly behaviour of certain parliamentarians in the Parliament needs to be condemned in strongest terms. Those found guilty of misbehaviour should be disqualified as an MP. There should be a code of conduct for MPs somewhat akin to conduct rules applicable to government servants. MPs should be accountable to the people at large. There should be a provision to calling back the representative through counter ballot.
Coming to electoral reforms, to mobilise the participation of majority of voters in the polling, voting should be made compulsory with a punishment clause for not casting vote without any valid reasons. The ballot paper should contain a provision for not selecting any of the candidates, if the people wish to do so. If it gets the majority then the election will become null and void. Then the parties will be compelled to project better candidates in the poll.
Smaller the states, the better they are governed and more accountable, the powerful would be. Therefore, another State Reorganising Commission should be set up to go into the details of carving of small states.
But at last it is wondered as to who will bell the cat? The fourth estate should be still more vigilant in saving our democracy form falling into a pit. The earlier it is done, the better it is.
(The author can be contacted at FF-103, Nehru Colony, Anantnagar, Nagpur-440013.)