It would appear that the Indian Electorate have no voice whatever in the administration of India once they have elected a Government at the Centre! There is no mechanism either to ascertain the views of the Electorate before a law is passed. The Parliament goes ahead with its programme of voting the bill unmindful of the public’s stand on it.
To quote an example: In the recent Parliamentary debate about FDI in the Retail trade, the Opposition parties vehemently opposed the bill. In fact, they wanted the government to shelve it and throw it into the wastepaper basket. But, by and large, the public favoured the FDI’s entry in the retail market going by the various newspaper reports. The FICCI has also endorsed the move.
Since one of its partners in the UPA had opposed the bill, the government withdrew it to be introduced at a later date. This is a clear case of difference in perception between the government and the people who elected it.
Does the Parliament take into account the mood and reactions of the Electorate on any issue under discussion there? None whatsoever. The Public and its views are completely ignored and the Parliament goes ahead as if the Electorate doesn’t exist. Is this kind of thinking correct and is it consistent with the principles of Democratic functioning? One would like to ask, if the government and the Opposition care about public opinion at all? It’s like the Political parties saying, “You have elected us. You have no further role in the affairs of the Nation. We will run the country for you. Ask no questions. OK?”
An MP is supposed to reflect the aspirations of the people of his/her constituency and convey their thoughts in the Parliament. Does he/she really ascertain the views on any issue? No. The actual truth is, that he becomes inaccessible to his own people. Overnight he turns into a super human being. He acts on his own as if people don’t count anymore.. Is this democracy.? Is the government then of the people, for the people and by the people? “By the people, yes”, but not the other two axioms.
The Indian newspapers have not been helpful in this regard at all. If they do, it is the Editor’s personal view and not that of its readers.
In this connection I have a suggestion to make. According to the Google report, the Electorate inIndia are 565.78 million. And our cell phone population is 873 million as in August 2011. It might have gone up by a couple of lakhs during the intervening period. Obviously, some individuals have more than one mobile, hence more in number compared to the number of voters. It is reasonable to assume that every voter does possess a cell phone. Why can’t we make use of this scenario to invite public opinion on any matter, like it is a referendum of sorts? What we need is an organization to co-ordinate the proceedings.
Perhaps one of the newspapers which has a circulation all overIndia could step into this role. As a matter of fact ,I have given this idea to Deccan Chronicle, a Daily published from Chennai. And they are working on it.
All the news paper has to do is, to state the purpose of the referendum and explain in detail the issue concerned and ask the individuals to give their answers through SMS on three points – YES, NO, NO OPINION. And the result may be conveyed to the government. Equipments are available to receive the SMS’s in millions centrally and all in a matter of minutes.
By this way the public can indirectly partake in the decision making process. The government and opposition parties dare not go against the public opinion. If they do, it will be at their own peril.
Even if 50 -60 % respond to the questionnaire, we can take it that it is the majority view. The cell phone users will become more conscious of this responsibility as time goes by and respond enthusiastically.
This modus operandi appears to be the most suitable and practicable one to ascertain the reaction of the electorate on important issues.
Readers of this article may convey their opinion to this proposal. No governmental sanction is required to implement this plan. What we need is a responsible organization to conduct the voting system.