Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Indian Parties Need Internal Democracy

We, the Indians take huge pride in the claim that India and USA are the two greatest democracies in the world - one country has the oldest democracy while the other has the largest. But differences between these two democracies have never been this acute, as in recent times.
  • In one country, a huge democratic process is going on to select the Presidential candidate. And the whole world media is going gaga about it. Hundreds of Party men are voting to choose the person, who is going to lead them in the elections and every person in the party are given the option to have their say.
  • But in the other country, one high powered committee of the party decides the Prime Ministerial Candidate. [Read Indian Party declares PM Candidate.] Even this looks democratic, when it is compared to the selection process of the opposing party, where the Prime Ministerial Candidate is decided in 10, Janpath.
In a recent beautiful article 'The Indian Chromosome', Islamabad-based freelance columnist Dr. Farrukh Salem narrows down the reason for the differences between two neighboring nations , sharing the same chromosome and culture, to a single fact - "Democracy or One Nation being able to elect its leaders". Democracy has been India's greatest asset in the last sixty years and it would remain so, even in the future.

But to fully enjoy the benefits of the democracy, it is time Indian parties chose to give voice to their party cadres. Yeah! India is a country with high power distance. But with the changing Indian Culture, changes in the perception of Youth and the advancements in the technology, Indian party leaders are running out of reasons for not being able to give the choice of choosing the prime ministerial candidate to its cadres. Simply by giving a voice, a party would be able to attract much more members to its rank.

Hope Indian parties realize the need of a thriving and healthy internal party democracy. Otherwise they would be wiped away like some of the Indian firms which were never able to adjust itself to globalization.

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