Sunday, August 31, 2014

Personalities Matter

It was already a fact in Assembly elections, where the entire cabinet has been reduced to the Chief Minister, but it took over three decades for Indira Gandhi's style to bring itself back in the form of Narendra Modi. Never since Indira Gandhi was a national election so focused on one individual - indeed, this government, guaranteed a five-year term without any coalition blackmail, is neither an NDA Government nor a BJP Government - it is the Modi Sarkaar.

But going deeper, this shows that our Constitution-writers made one fundamental flaw in their assumptions about Indian society - they assumed that a Presidential system would not work. In reality, most states have turned into a de facto Presidential system and after Indira Gandhi's administration, this is yet another such system. We are inevitably moving towards it, despite our Constitution. In fact, Manmohan Singh's faceless administration was a direct reprimand against the Westminster System: people want the government to have a face, for the Prime Minister to take responsibility and be held accountable for his Cabinet, which he must have full control over. That is exactly what people voted for in 2014.

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections clearly show Indian democracy moving naturally towards a Presidential form of government. Personalities do, indeed, matter. Perhaps that also explains the Congress' dismal numbers.  

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