A Two Party System in India ?
Rajinder Puri writes here how we can move Towards A Two-Party System in India. But I am surprised how little he has analysed and written about why the present situation exists. He mentions the lack of intra party democracy, but at a very shallow level. There are no state units in congress. Even the appointment of the Chief Minister of state is first decided by the ‘high command’ at Delhi, and then the chosen person is ‘voted’ by the MLAs as the CM.
Then, there is the problem of ageing leaders. Arjun Singh, Vajpayee, Advani, Karunanidhi, Achutanadan, Bal Thackery. They just don’t want to retire. In U.K, U.S, where the two party system seems to be working so well, the leader of the political party resigns and retires from active politics if his party loses the election. There they have a huge process to elect a political party leader, in which the opposing candidates fight it out as if it were a true national election. We have none of this. None of the parties have it, national or regional.
Then there is also the problem of party whip when parliament or sate assemblies vote on a bill. So, no MP or MLA can have an opinion different from that of his party. I agree that there have been many cases of horse trading, but then the Parliament is divided into rigid blocks and the way these blocks vote is completely determined by a few individuals, the so called ‘high command’. What it means is that there is a lack of democracy not just within the party but even in the parliament and hence in the country. That is why we have so many breakaway parties. The younger leaders’ aspirations and ambitions cannot be met with such a scenario.
So, as Mr. Puri suggests, if we have a quasi national party, then these problems are still not solved. Hence, it is not possible and probably not desirable either.
But with so many small paries, there is also lack of stability sometimes. Sometimes the elction results are determined by the alliances rather than the issues and the performance of the government ( ex: TN in the latest election ).
I feel that alliances of ‘blocks’ ( controlled by ‘high commands’ , and ‘ammas’ ) is still the better option.