Home Opinions 'Left liberal' ecosystem pushes proportional system of voting to retain its legitimacy

‘Left liberal’ ecosystem pushes proportional system of voting to retain its legitimacy

In a diverse and in many ways, a fragmented society like India, the left-liberal ecosystem is planning to peddle the idea of a proportional voting system in India. Its main concern is that the Lok Sabha and some assemblies have less representation because of the first past the post system. The idea found recognition at the topmost level for the first time when a parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma took it up.

Their main bone of contention is that 69% of the people have not voted Modi and hence the system of elections is by itself wrong in India. Their fear increased further when BJP secured 312 seats in 401 member assembly in Uttar Pradesh with a vote share of 39.7%. The matter has been raised again as CPI(M) lost in Tripura even after getting 42% vote.

This is not a good argument because most of these parties have enjoyed power with less than 50% vote share all these years and did not bother to bring up this logic. Now that they are out of power and are becoming more and more irrelevant they have now sought to get at least some number of seats in elected assemblies. At the outset, it may appear that it is fair for someone to gain a definite number of seats for a particular percentage of votes. But in reality, for a fractured society like India, it will do more harm than benefit when it is implemented.

- Ad - - article resumes -

In a recent interview to The Hindu, former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi answered a question on proportional representation as below (emphasis added) :

Q: You had mentioned in an essay that it is time to review the first-past-the-post system (FPTP)? Has the demand for replacing FPTP with proportional representation (PR) become louder after the 2014 general elections?

When I wrote An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election, which came out in the middle of the elections of 2014, I had written that FPTP was the best system for its simplicity. I had also discussed various PR systems but dismissed them as not being practical for India. After the 2014 elections, I felt compelled to change my position when we saw that even with the third largest vote share of 20%, one party (the Bahujan Samaj Party) got zero seats. This is not a democracy. I think it is time to have a national debate on this. We could look at the German model where they have a mixed system — half PR and half FPTP.

His comment ‘This is not democracy’ is irresponsible and unacceptable because there is no hard and fast rule that some party with 20% vote has to get a seat. Probably there have been such instances in the past. One can also argue that some party with 10% vote should also get some seats or else, it cannot be a democracy. At what threshold do you call first past the post system as undemocratic? Let us also remember that this rhetoric arises only when a party that the liberals hate comes to power.

In a first past the post system of elections, a party has to build a broad social alliance and come up with an inclusive agenda in its manifesto. The party may or may not be dominated by any single community, but it will have to seek votes of as many communities as possible to get elected. Once it gets elected it has to serve all sections of the society.

It has been pointed out many times in the past, this form of government will assure seats for some percentage of the population and thereby allow parties and politicians to take hardline communal positions based on a percentage of the population. Also, coalition governments formed in India are difficult to run as opposite ideologies will stall many decisions. Proportional voting would institutionalise coalition governments forever and harm public at large in the long run.

It is argued that the proportional voting system was rejected by the constituent assembly because it is complex and not understood by the large illiterate electorate at the time of independence. The fact that India is now better off in literacy is the reason for the proponents of proportional system to argue that the time has now arrived for its introduction. This is again an incorrect argument because we have still not reached 100% literacy and we would be ignoring a large number of voters who may not understand the complexity.

In my opinion, proportional voting suits a homogeneous society (or nearly homogeneous society) which has ideological diversity in its political system. In a political system like India which has both demographic and ideological diversity, it would lead to chaos and more bigotry in our political discourse.

Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Big Story

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken cognisance of the complaint of sexual harassment that was made by one Himanshi Gupta against a senior producer of Kapil Sibal backed Tiranga TV.

2019 World Cup Is Here!

Catch the latest on Cricket World Cup as it unfolds, special coverage by Opindia

Proud to be a brand - Made in India?
Now, Advertise on Opindia

Mangalore: Mohammad Ansari rapes a cow by tying its limbs, villagers catch him in the act, arrested

The villagers also made Ansari touch cow’s feet and ask for forgiveness for raping her. However, when Ansari approached the calf, the animal freaked out and started running.

Abusive actor Ajaz Khan arrested by Mumbai Police for instigating violence through social media

Mumbai Police arrests small-time actor Ajaz Khan after he mocked the police on TikTok

Mangaluru villagers caught Mohammad Ansari raping a calf, police arrests villagers for ‘hurting religious beliefs’

In the Kunjathbail village in Mangaluru, Mohammad Ansari was caught red-handed by the villagers while he was raping a calf.

Revisiting Sainbari, a blot on Indian Democracy: When Communists made a mother eat rice with her dead sons’ blood

The Sainbari incident remains the most horrific instance of political violence in the country.

Here are 15 famous quotes from Harsha Bhogle during his commentary stint

The famous Indian commentator, Harsha Bhogle, born on July 19 in Hyderabad is celebrating his 58th birthday today.

Live updates Karnataka Trust Vote: House adjourned, floor test now expected on Monday

JDS-Congress government of Karnataka is facing their second floor test after assembly elections were held in May last year.
Tamil media on dead tiger

Tiger dies after eating a Sambar Deer, Tamil Media reports how it died after consuming ‘Sambhar Rice’

On Sunday evening, a tiger was found dead soon after it had eaten a sambar deer. The carcass was found in the Parsons Valley reservoir in the Nilgiris district.
Couple forced out of village; husband pressurised to accept wife’s religion

Hindu boy’s family forced out of village for marrying Muslim girl, police advices boy to convert as villagers threaten to kill

Newlywed Hindu boy and Muslim girl approach SSP for protection as villagers threaten to kill them and local police ask the boy to convert
Salma Ansari's temple plan receives AMU's objection

AMU administration’s jolt to Mrs Ansari’s secularism pitch, says no to temple plan inside ‘Chacha Nehru Madarsa’

Salma Ansari, the wife of former vice president Hamid Ansari, had announced recently that she will have a temple built inside the 'Chacha Nehru Madarsa' that she runs in AMU campus.
Shashi Tharoor supports Sanjiv Bhatt

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor extends support to disgraced cop Sanjiv Bhatt sentenced to life in custodial death case

Shashi Tharoor had tweeted today that he had met with the family of disgraced cop Sanjiv Bhatt
Subscribe to Day's Top Stories
- Advertisment -

Latest articles

Connect with us

173,676FansLike
159,219FollowersFollow
74,858SubscribersSubscribe
Help Opindia Reach Every Indian. Share This Post