The politics of our country is centered on democracy, and democratic institutions. Democracy is built upon the idea of inclusive politics, in which everybody should have a say in the governance and each is valued equally in the system.  It is the duty of the institutions of our country to increase the participation of all stake holders in the functioning of the government.

Prof Chhokar begun by stressing the fact that, certain stake holders that form the dominant coalitions have more say in the working of these democratic institutions. These dominant coalitions include the politicians, bureaucrats, big businessmen and the upcoming “moneyed” upper middle class.

One of the many ideas put forward by Prof Chhokar was that the system as a whole should also give everybody an equal chance to also contribute in the functioning of government. But “Over 37,000 independent candidates (around 50% of total contestants) have participated in the 14 general elections held in the country since independence; and only 214 of them, less than one per cent, could make it to Parliament while 34,640 have lost their deposits”[1] showing how difficult it is for outsiders to enter the political domain. Hence, it becomes imperative for such outsider to try gain support of an existing political party, which comes with baggage of falling along party lines and loss of individual ideals.  And major hindrance to individual action is the Anti-defection Law (Tenth Schedule); interfering with individual MP’s right of expression and accountability to the people he stands for in the parliament.

This coupled with lack of internal democracy in the political parties, have reduced the scope of open and substantial intra-party debate, right to dissent and respect for the views of others. Political parties are primary means to participate in democracy and form a bridge between public opinion and policy. Hence it is very important for party member to be able to put forth the views of various people they represent. [2]

Thus to uphold the democracy we all cherish, it becomes necessary to bring in participation and transparency in organization and functioning of the democratic institutions.

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References:
  1. Independent candidate’s performance on the wane, New Delhi, Tue Apr 07 2009, Indian Express
  2. Democracy within and without, RFGI: in India