Thursday, June 13, 2024

Parliamentary Democracy

Democracy is said to be the most evolved and best form of governance. It is the government in which people govern themselves through their elected representatives chosen by all adults. There are two types of democracies. One is Presidential Democracy as in USA in which President is powerful. The other is Parliamentary Democracy as in India in which Prime Minister is powerful. For a Democracy to be successful people must be in a position to understand the activities of the government and vote accordingly. The elected representatives should be able to discuss things impartially and support the good proposed by any party and denounce the bad put forward by any party.

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They do not even know how to vote

In the recent election for the President of India 15 votes were declared invalid. It is to say some of our elected representatives do not even know how to vote. In a pluralistic country like India in which many people are ignorant of the value and the consequences of voting; muscle power, money, caste, religion, region, gender etc, unfortunately, are the basis for electing public representatives. People with proven crime and jail records are also elected at some places. Most of the elected representatives do not know what they are expected to do in the house to which they are elected. They support or oppose things blindly following party dictates without applying their minds. Party ‘Whip’ is something that kills the individual opinion of the representative and makes him a slave of the party. They are used to shout slogans and disrupt proceedings of the House.

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In the election of a public representative there is no rule that his background should be known to people. Rules make him declare his properties and that he was not convicted. Mentioning his education, abilities, efficiency, achievements is not disclosed to public. People have to assess him based on his speeches in his campaigns before election. It is imperative that many of the voters have not heard of the contestant before the election and might not have seen him again for the next five years of his term.

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Public representatives should participate in debate

It is a pity that most of our Ward Members, Councillors, MLAs, MPs are not aware that they should not be confined to their Wards or Constituencies and that their obligation is to the entire village/ town/ state/ country. Discussion is the key to success of Democracy. A public representative has to attend sessions and participate in the discussions going on in the House. For that he should have wide knowledge of the topics that may crop up for discussion. Unless he participates in the discussion in evolving what is better for the people his presence in the House is useless. Reality is without doing any of his duties a representative is using his influence over the officers to get things done for his and his people’s benefit obviously harming the people who deserve the benefit. (If a person is getting a tap connection with the influence of the elected representative before the others waiting for it, obviously the public representative is unduly benefiting one and denying the others their rightful benefit). 

So we should elect only such people who have enough knowledge to participate in the discussions in the House concerned. Obviously he should be a man of ability, character and commitment. Then only we can have a meaningful democracy and improve our lives.

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Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur
Rajendra Singh Baisthakur had been a Lecturer in English. He is a poet, critic and translator. His interests are Literature, Philosophy and social media.


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