Daily Post 1533


The concept of representative democracy is well established. The meaning and theoretical representation is that whosoever comes through the process, elected or nominated – direct or indirect, represents its constituents. Whether that has happened so far is a viewpoint, it depends on which side of the fence you are. Suffice, to say, if you talk to the constituents, you are bound to get a clear cut reply that nothing much has changed. Some amount of change is bound to happen given the passage of time and the resources that has gone behind it. Return on investment, ROI, the democratic government are terribly bad at. When huge of amount of public exchequer funds are involved, what should be the financial propriety and the desperation to make things happen out of that money.

It is difficult to conclusively say whether this is even a thought in practice. The democratic practice is an unending saga of representation, all trying to follow the written and the unwritten codes and at times even some imaginary ones. Nobody wants to be faulted on that count. Having done that half the job is done. All constituents representation claims are met with. You are declared to be a fair person, that you have no bias. You have surmounted the core hurdle that everybody has got a chance to bask in the sun and also to make hay while the sun shines. There are no goals or targets attached to the representation.

It is most of the times a thanksgiving for gaining power and later an exercise in maintaining it. It needs a nature of brinksmanship that is truly Indian and is fully seeped into the India politico – democratic culture. In US the battle is on in the representation game for the largesse of posts happening currently, post Biden winning the elections. While our constitution is sans caste, creed, religion, gender, race or color, all cabinet formations are an exercise in this game. Expertise, talent and capability to deliver barely has a chance in this representative democracy game.

While the constitution provides for a representation of a different kind, which we all know a bit too well. What happens beyond that representation, ie elections, is realpolitik, which comes in way of delivery of any kind. The panchayati raj system has 50% representation for women for ages, what difference has it made? This was legally mandated. For the real democracy the make believe conventions of representative democracy are harmful to the core. It’s only believes that persons of the same grouping can serve the interest best, which remains unproven. Conversely, it also believes then that only group dynamics works and only vested interests can deliver. Quite a dangerous trend for a vibrant democracy.


Sanjay Sahay

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