Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why would a political system matter?

Fareed Zakaria argues that a parliamentary system of Democracy may be an answer for America's woes. It is surprising that this is coming from someone who has been brought up in Mumbai and who must be studying Indian Politics with equal attention. In India we have the largest parliamentary democracy in the world which is trying to put essentially non-democratic czar to supervise corruption in the country and in a sense undermine whole of Loksabha. That much level of disgust is widespread in India about their own system.

I support Anna Hazare's resistance for completely different reasons - it is forcing Indian Political System to face the issue of Corruption. It is not to undermine what Hazare has achieved here, but really it is the total failure of Leadership on part of Rahul Gandhi and Dr. Singh, especially when Sonia Gandhi is not in the picture. A straight forward and meaningful way for Congress Party to tackle Anna's challenge was to 'up the ante against Corruption' - to point out the root cause of corruption in India as break down of court and police system at local and state level. When Congress Party would have raised this true issue sufficiently high with a credible plan to fix this root cause, Lokpal and bringing PM under that ambit; all that would be bit irrelevant. In a way political incompetence of Rahul Gandhi & Dr. Singh is at par with political incompetence of President Obama. This again firmly indicates that no matter what system you have, political incompetence can equally retard the progress of a nation.

Coming back to Zakaria's assertions, what he seems to have forgotten is whether a political system has mechanics to throw out political representatives who do not perform or deliver. Clearly that option is there in American System - Americans can simply throw out all the bums (i.e. Tea Party and Hard line GOP) who caused the 'debt problem' and who continue to advocate ideology instead of solving our problems. No one is stopping American Public to make this wise choice and also hold Democrats equally accountable. If Americans refuse to heed to those who are advocating rational and sane solutions to our problems, not even God can cure us. Whether it is parliamentary system or presidential system, it will be the same mess. Faulty populism (state treasury bankrupting schemes like Rs. 2 kilo rice by late NT Ramarao or free electricity to farmers in Haryana and Punjab), misguided and ideologically driven policy prescriptions (Mandal by VP Singh and RSS backed efforts to change India's History) and total legislative grid lock (exhibit A - read how Indian Opposition Parties have stymied completely second term of Dr. Singh); all these are equally possible in a parliamentary system.

I really do not want to compare British Parliamentary System here because UK is a small and very compact nation whereas USA resembles really to the mother of all diversity - Indian nation.

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