Democracy in Action


Whenever I see an election happening in India, I always think that it is not going to be an easy exercise, and it must probably be the toughest elections anywhere in the world.

It is. Coming to think of it and experience it, I can most surely state that the next best elections in the U.S. pale in comparison to the Indian elections. India just concluded the conduct of state assembly elections in 5 states across the country – the elections covered the most populous state, UP (Uttar Pradesh) and also one of the smallest states, Goa. The manner in which the elections were conducted by the Election Commission of India in an impeccable and impartial way counted to the position of India as the most democratic nation in the world (yes, there is such a thing as “scale of democracy” – not all democratic countries are truly democratic in spirit and execution).

Compared to the recently concluded Russian Presidential Election, the Indian elections score highly in the sense that there were no reported incidents of vote rigging, or disproportionate spending by candidates, or buying of votes. Any flouting of the code of conduct by any politician – whether he or she belonged to the ruling party or the opposition party – elicited strict actions by the Election Commission. There was no need for election monitors from the European Union like what Russia deserved.

The elections in India produced surprises, despite the conduct of one of the largest such exercises in what is the most populous state of UP, which would rank as the fifth most populous country in the world, were it an independent nation with a population of over 200M. The result of that election was rather surprising – it overthrew the incumbent. In Goa, the incumbent party was thrown out as well.

What is very surprising that even in the illiterate parts of UP, the electorate returned intelligent verdicts, conveying the power of the ballot in the hands of any voter. This goes to prove that the performance of an elected party is being closely watched by the electorate, irrespective of the sops being offered as inducements by the party or parties.

Democracy in action ! That is what India has proved repeatedly, and it is an envy of most countries around the world. India allows peaceful protests and electioneering, but elections are subject to the strict administration by the Election Commission, which is a neutral constitutional body, not reporting to the government. The strong institutionalization of democracy in India is a beacon of freedom for the entire world and its track record (despite the institutionalized corruption) is something the world looks up to for implementation.

Of course, India needs to implement a whole lot of improvements while executing democracy, not the least of which are elimination of corruption and nepotism which are the bane of the people of India.

Nevertheless, let us all be proud of the accomplishments of Indian democracy in action over the past several decades, and which is getting stronger as the years progress…….even the U.S. witnesses the strength of Indian democracy and finds it is not easy to challenge its credentials when it comes to the independent thinking of the elected politicians and their parties.

Kudos to India and its Democracy !!

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan
11th March 2012
Mumbai

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One comment

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