25 October, 2020

Napoleonic Democracy

A pre-poll PM candidate hurts the polity, promotes personality cult

Illustration by Sorit
Napoleonic Democracy

The elevation of Modi as field marshal of the BJP for leading them into electoral battle was undemocratically decided. But is it against the spirit of parliamentary democracy? And the Congress’s crown prince has spurned his crown thrice even when it was offered on a platter. Clearly, cabalism has replaced party democracy—despite former CEC T.N. Seshan’s order in the George Fernandes case that party constitutions must be followed. Anticipating Modi’s elevation, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has already pre-emptively broken free of the bjp’s embrace.

Should such exaltations be allowed to convert India’s election into an American-style presidential polls? We know the US election is a wasteful democra­tic exercise: it starts half-way through a presidential term; each state follows its own counting procedure (winner-takes-all, proportionate votes); a decision of the US Supreme Court allows money power to dominate the process.

India’s Constitution does not envisage American-style campaigns. Nothing prevents a party or a...



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