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Commitment to Democracy

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The editorial “In Defence of ‘Milavati Sarkar’” (EPW, 16 February 2019) rightly emphasises the inevitability of political contestations and pressures in a democracy. The stability of government is critical; however, it cannot be misinterpreted as arbitrariness in the decision-making process as the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership does. The political stability evolved out of debates and discussions derives much-needed social legitimacy as compared to stability, which is acquired through monopoly of power and authority. Unregulated power, through authoritarian tendencies, always poses a risk to democracy.

The editorial has not reflected adequately upon the need for committed leadership, while arguing for a coalition government for a plural India. Be it majoritarian or coalition, what matters is whether the top leadership of the single or multiple parties show commitment to the constitutional values of democracy or not. The role of top leadership matters a lot in protecting and preserving the democratic legitimacy of Parliament as the country witnessed in the formative stages of the Indian republic.

The rise of authoritarian regimes and their implications for democratic decline are global phenomena. This reflects the lapses in the commitment of global leadership to the values of democratic tradition, including in India. In the context of the shrinking space of democratic voices, there is an urgent necessity for strengthening citizens’ stake in a democracy through civil society organisations to put pressure on the governments to uphold constitutional governance and to maintain the rule of law.

As citizens, it is time we actively participate in governance rather than entrust the country’s progress in the hands of the political elite. The transition from representative to participative democracy is the need of the hour. In this context, the 2019 elections signify the battle of electoral centralised governance versus institutional decentralised governance as laid down in the Constitution of India.

Nayakara Veeresha

Bengaluru

Updated On : 1st Mar, 2019

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