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Presidential form of govt. is more suitable for India

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In 2007 Narendra Modi won Gujrat by almost TWO-THiRDs MAJORiTY for the second time in succession. Nobody else has ever achieved this feat in any major state or at the centre in the last 20 years and more. This is a very significant achievement, and is a win for Moditva more than for Hindutva. And simply put, Moditva is nothing but good-governance through direct contact with the common man. Yet the significance of Moditva is more important than this landslide victory, Hindutva, or even Modi himself. This win by Modi is a harbinger of change in our system of Parliamentary Democracy. 

What is that significance?? The biggest significance is that this election and Modi’s winning is a pointer that we are slowly moving towards the Presidential from of government, like the US or France. Consider the facts:<1>Sonia called him Merchant of Death. <2>The scale of dissidence was tremendous. Senior BJP generals and ex Chief Ministers like Shankarsinh Vaghela, Keshubhai Patel, Kanshi Ram Rana and a dozen others were anti-Modi. Some fought against Modi on congress ticket while some were backed by congress against Modi. Some others fought on a hastily formed group using Sardar Patel’s name. Some fought as independents. Uma Bharati’s Lok Janashakti (an off-shoot of BJP) Party was anti-Modi. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) did not canvass for Modi. The RSS was silent. Even the Bajrang Dal was neither here nor there. None of the major Hindutva outfits were on Modi’s side. So this is not a win for Hindutva. This is a win for Moditva. And for the first time in recent history all dissidence was smashed to dust. 

I spent four days traveling across Gujrat on motorcycle in October. Elections had been announced. And I spoke to lot of people. The mood was upbeat and 90% of the people I talked to, restaurant owners, hotel owners, pan-shop owners, motorcycle mechanics, taxi & tempo drivers and such. Everybody was in favor of Modi and said he would win. The only point on which people differed was the scale of the win. 

About 70% people said he would get two-thirds, while 30% said he would get less than two thirds, but definitely more than 51%. In the event, he got 117 out of 182, which is just FOUR seats short of two-thirds, or 64.3% of seats, while 66.66% is two thirds. 

Simply defined, Moditva is DiRECT CONTACT WiTH THE PEOPLE, the Common Man, without intermediaries. As per our current electoral system, citizens elect an MP to Lok Sabha, and members of Lok Sabha (MPs) elect the Prime Minister. 

The strength of the Lok Sabha is 545 members. Anyone who can get the support of 272 members can become Prime Minister (PM). So what does an aspiring PM have to do? He simply has to buy 272 out of the 545 MPs, the 100 crore citizens of India can go to hell for five years as long as the 272 bought people remain bought. This is not too difficult. He can begin by buying==appointing 82 members as ministers (15% of 545 Lok Sabha seats), which leaves 190 members to be bought==satisfied. There are other avenues for “buying==satisfying” MPs. They can be appointed as chairmen of huge public sector companies, like Rahul Bajaj (who was very capable, though not MP) was made Chairman of Indian Airlines many years ago. There are hundreds of other public sector bodies available for milking, like Hindustan Steel, STC, MMTC, ONGC, Hindustan Shipyard……..the list is almost endless. The PM has the prerogative of appointing anyone to head these bodies. Then there are various committees whose membership entitles the member to huge goodies. Whoever becomes the head, gets a cow to milk, i.e. free house; free car, driver & petrol ; personal staff, free travel by air / train, free phone etc. etc. etc. all paid for the govt., who is paid by the taxpayer, that is YOU and ME ! And if by chance (or by design) some MP does not get a cow to milk, no problem, just give him milk==cash directly, on a case-to-case basis, like Narsimha Rao gave to the MPs inside parliament, and the Supreme Court ruled that giving cash INSiDE parliament, is not a bribe or corruption. 

Now let us look at the mechanics and mathematics of becoming an MP. A Lok Sabha constituency generally has TEN LAKH voters. In 12 general elections to the Lok Sabha in the last 60 years it has been observed that in 90% of the constituencies, half of the citizens do not vote. So, only five lakh people vote. It has also been observed that the winning pattern generally is that the winner gets @ 1.5 lakh votes; the one who comes second gets anywhere between 60,000 to One lakh votes; the third person gets @ 40,000 votes, and the rest are inconsequential. 

So, in effect, most MPs represent only 15% of their constituency. So their strategy is to target 1.5 lakh people out their TEN LAKH constituency, which is their VOTE-BANK, and satisfy them. The remaining eight-and-a-half lakh people, don’t matter. Is this a good model? Another drawback of our system is that an un-educated person from (say) Bastar becomes MP and cabinet Minister. He has very little knowledge of (say) Manipur or Nagaland and the difference between Meiteis and Kukis, or the differences between NSCN—K and NSCN—IM. Supposing he is Union Minister for Agriculture or Urban Development, he will expend 90% of his energy in developing Bastar, or at the most Chattisgarh, rather than spend time in trying to promote agriculture in the northeast or promoting urban development in Imphal & Kohima. He is not to blame. Even if YOU or I were the said minister, we would do the same, because at the next election time, if I want to become MP, I have to face my 15% VOTE BANK of Bastar, not Manipur or Nagaland. The fault therefore is with the system which thrives on VOTE BANK! 

How to remedy this system? We have had PMs who could hardly look beyond their home district or at the most their home state. This is not good for the country. We must have a PM whose VOTE BANK is the 120 crore people of the whole country, not just 1.5 lakh people of some obscure district, and his actions are not hostage to the personal proclivity of 272 individuals who have their own axe to grind. 

 

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