Ever since a ‘strong leader’ in the name of Narendra Modi emerged in Indian political arena the talk of ‘virtues’ of the presidential form of government has gained currency. BJP and RSS have never concealed their love for a strong leader who would not be susceptible to the pulls and pressures of the Parliamentary system. Whenever a crisis of sort happens RSS ideologues used to jump into the gun to suggest that panacea for all the ills of India’s democracy is shifting to Presidential form.
But like many of BJP’s ideas, this was vehemently opposed by other political parties. But now they have got an unlikely friend in the form of Shashi Tharoor. Participating in a debate in The Hindu, the diplomat turned politician has detailed the virtues of selecting a president/prime minister/ governor/chief minister directly.
Asserting India’s many challenges require “political arrangements that permit decisive action” and our current system “increasingly promote drift and indecision”, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor contended that moving into the presidential system of government is the “best way to ensure a democracy that works.” Perhaps this is the first time a Congress leader coming urging to disown the parliamentary practice of politics and to embrace the presidential system.
“Our parliamentary system is a perversity only the British could have devised: to vote for a legislature in order to form the executive. It has created a unique breed of a legislator, largely unqualified to legislate, who has sought election only in order to wield executive power,” Tharoor said.
According to him under the parliamentary system, the governments concentrate less on governing than on staying in office, and “obliged them to cater to the lowest common denominator of their coalitions since the withdrawal of support can bring governments down.
We must have a system of government whose leaders can focus on governance rather than on staying in power. A system of directly elected chief executives at all levels would permit India to deal more efficiently with its critical economic and social challengesShashi Tharoor, Congress leader
The parliamentary system has distorted the voting preferences of an electorate that knows which individuals it wants but not necessarily which parties or policies. Voters who want to see, say, Narendra Modi as Prime Minister or Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister, have to vote for an MP they may not care for, merely because he belongs to Modi’s or Banerjee’s partyShashi Tharoor, Congress leader
“Cabinet posts would not be limited to those who are electable rather than those who are able,” Tharoor writes.
“Any politician with aspirations to rule India as President will have to win the support of people beyond his or her home turf; he or she will have to reach out to different groups, interests, and minorities,” Tharoor says.
“We must have a democracy that delivers progress to our people. Changing to a presidential system is the best way of ensuring a democracy that works. It is time for a change,” the Congress MP from Kerala’s Thiruvanathaputam argued.
After the debacle in the recent elections an online campaign was launched by a congress worker demanding the leadership to name Shashi Tharoor as the prime ministerial candidate of the Congress.