By: Apoorv Agarwal
After exercising my constitutional right recently, I wondered if the system needs changing. After debating the question for some time in my head, I decided that the answer is ‘Yes’.
In a democracy, we are to elect our own leaders, but as it turns out, here in India, we don’t get to do that. Instead, we vote for a party and the party or coalition that has the majority then decides who is to become our Prime Minister. We don’t get a direct say in electing our leaders, be it our Prime Minister or our President. For a democracy to work, the public should be given the opportunity to vote for their leaders and elect them directly.
The current system has many drawbacks. The most important being that we do not know till the end who our Prime Minister is going to be, ballot counting aside. Take for example, the 2004 general elections. Even though UPA had the majority, the PM turned out to be Dr Manmohan Singh and not Ms Sonia Gandhi, for whom the public voted.
We can certainly adopt the system from the United States where people vote for their President and their Congressman separately. The President can be a Democrat and the Congress majority may be Republican.
The advantage of having such a system is that we, the people, know who we are voting for. Many parties do not have a Pan-India presence. Take for example, BJP and Congress, these two parties though are national parties, they do not have presence in some districts or in certain constituencies, the candidate from the party might not be the one people would like to vote for. To understand it in perspective, consider the following hypothetical. While the candidate fit for MP from a particular constituency might be from Congress, the person will have the opportunity to vote for Narendra Modi to become the PM or if from the particular constituency, the voter feels that none of the candidates is fit to represent them and yet want Rahul Gandhi or Arvind Kejriwal as PM, they can certainly do so, without losing their right to elect their leader that is enshrined in our constitution.
(The above mentioned is the view of this author. Such an amendment needs to be discussed and debated in the public forum to bring out its pros and cons and to decide on whether or not to induct the same. The best way is through a referendum.)