Monday, March 30, 2020
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

Also Read

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.

- article continues after 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.

- Support OpIndia -
Support OpIndia by making a monetary contribution

Trending now

Latest News

King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand goes into isolation with his harem of 20 concubines in Germany, books an entire luxury hotel

Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn has booked out the entire Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Bavaria, with permission from local council

Latest updates and important links about COVID-19 coronavirus

Live statistics and tracking of news related to COVID-19 coronavirus with focus on India.

Pakistan heaps praise on China amid Coronavirus pandemic, Imran Khan’s advisor says stranded students in Wuhan grateful to Pakistan for not evacuating them

The world has a lot to learn from China regarding the prevention and control of communicable diseases: Imran Khan’s adviser said

UP Govt takes over Jaypee Sports City to house migrants returning from Delhi in quarantine

Authorities in Noida have decided to take over the Jaypee Sports City in order to house the migrants fleeing to UP from Delhi.

Coronavirus fight: Assam man offers to donate 4 acres of land to build a hospital for treatment of COVID-19 patients

Krishna Mahanta has written a letter to the Kaliabor Sub-Divisional Officer offering to donate land for COvid-19 hospital

Centre directs States to seal borders and prevent outflux of migrant workers in the wake of coronavirus lockdown

Migrant workers who have violated lockdown guidelines and travelled to other states are to be kept under quarantine for 14 days.

Recently Popular

Infosys employee Mujeeb Mohammad arrested for asking people to ‘spread the virus’ by sneezing in public, fired by the company

Although earlier Infosys said that it could be a case of mistaken identity, later they admitted he was their employee & fired him

PM Narendra Modi launches “Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund” to receive public donations for fight against Covid-19

This fund will enable micro-donations and large number of people will be able to contribute with smallest of denominations

Manufactured crisis? Delhi govt cut electricity and water supply of migrant workers​, told them buses were waiting for them at UP border

Essentially, it seems like the Delhi government manufactured a crisis and forced migrant workers to flock to the UP border amidst Coronavirus lockdown

Ramayana in the digital​ age: The first​ episode crashes Doordarshan website, top searched in India on Google

As the first episode of Ramayan went live, Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana on Doordarshan become the top search on Google in India

Abu Khalid al-Hindi who attacked Sikhs in Afghanistan was one Mohammed Sajid from Kasargod ISIS module, Kerala: Here is all you need to know

Terrorist who attacked Sikhs in Afghanistan was one Mohammed Sajid Kuthirummal who had escaped from Kasargod, Kerala in 2015 to join ISIS

Subscribe to our newsletter

Each morning, get an email to keep updated with all the news, opinions and analysis published by OpIndia.

Connect with us

216,583FansLike
265,434FollowersFollow
208,000SubscribersSubscribe
Advertisements