India Uncut

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes in the Indian Express:
We lament the fact that there is no debate in Parliament. But meaningful debate requires three background conditions: first, that there is a genuine difference of opinion between parties. Except on a small set of ideologically charged issues like secularism or who is more corrupt, our parties do not differ on principle. Second, there must be some sense that debates are consequential. But in a parliamentary system, especially with a fragmented party system, voting against your party line is almost impossible. Third, there must be some sense that debate can be leveraged for reputational gains. There is almost no evidence that this happens. Why would an MP take Parliament seriously?
Mehta's article is about how our political class is so corrupt because there is "a fundamental confusion over the principle" undelying the insitution of parliament. And how voters are called upon to choose MPs despite "serious information constraints." Read it all.

Will this change? If so, how? I fancy that if change does come, it'll be driven from the bottom rather than from the top, by an electorate that gradually becomes more enlightened, perhaps in conjunction with becoming more prosperous, and demands more from its leaders. That could take years, even decades -- especially as that drive towards prosperity is hostage to reforms in the system that have almost completely stalled. But I simply do not see the change being driven by a new class of political leaders. It would be against their interests to reform the system that has brought them to power.
amit varma, 10:18 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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