It is common knowledge that India is passing through a tumultuous period in her democratic governance. Though postmodern democracy has many drawbacks and has been dominantly designed by many nations, it needs to be recognized that the world in our times has irreversibly arrived at democracy as the most acknowledged healthy way of governing nation states. It is also recognized that most nation states have adopted representative democracy as a pragmatic way of respecting citizen’s power. In the evolution of representative democracy several types of electoral systems have been invented, developed, modified etc. Nations with known dominant ideologies have developed also electoral systems that will easily retain power of governance in their hands so that powerful groups that numerically smaller could hold reins of power without disruption. Simultaneously nations with socialistic ideology and more egalitarian vision of governance have designed electoral systems for inclusive governance of vast sections of society.
USA, England, Canada, Australia, India etc. though they claim to be big democracies in the world practice sham democracy by excluding powerless sections of their countries from genuine representation. About 60 democracies in the world today, mostly former colonies of the British are still holding on to the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system that provides unquestionable power in the hands of the rich.
89 democracies in the world however, have shifted their electoral system to one or other form of Proportional Representation (PR) with an explicit purpose of providing inclusive representation to the poor, minorities and excluded people. They share an ideology that democracy is ultimately power of the people and that it has to be shared through electoral processes.
India inherited the British legacy of FPTP electoral system that makes it possible to concentrate power of governance in the hands of parties that gain less than 30% of votes in general elections. Fragmentation of political parties, unlimited corruption, mindless violence, continuation of communalism-casteism-patriarchy, dynastic and family rule etc. have been the consequences of this FPTP electoral system in India. Unfortunately India has an abysmally low level of knowledge on alternative electoral system, so much so that there are blatant denials of the existence of Proportional Representation system in full glare of media.
However, it must be noted that the makers of the Constitution of India had long deliberations on what type of electoral system India must apply in her representative democratic governance. The composition of Indian society as multicultural, multilingual, multi-religious, multi-ethnic brought up the need for an electoral system that would be inclusive of all communities of people in democracy and governance. Members of minority communities in the Constituent Assembly vehemently argued in favour of India adopting the Proportionate Electoral System. However, the Constituent Assembly decided to go with the British legacy of FPTP. Subsequently there have been sporadic clamour and endeavour to usher in the Proportionate Electoral System in India. The Law Commission of India’s 170th report in 1999 clearly recommended that India reformed her electoral system in order to usher in the PR system. Of late, there have been strong voices in the Parliament of India in favour of Proportionate Electoral System. The latest however, is the Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) that has spread the knowledge on PR system to intelligentsia, academia, political and civil society leadership and grassroots activists.
As a continuing endeavour of ushering in genuine representation in India through PR system of elections, concerned citizens in South India, North India, Eastern India and North East India have come together several times and have decided to launch Coalitions for Proportional Electoral System in India. If all such efforts eventually culminate in the formation of a National Coalition for Proportional Electoral System, it will be an ideal outcome of concern and concerted action from below. Several rounds of meetings among those intensively involved have already taken place in order to plan a formal launch of Coalitions for Proportional Electoral System in India.
Regional parties that find themselves way behind the ‘big fish’ in electoral politics, eminent people’s movements and civil society organizations as well as deeply committed individuals will come together to formally launch the South India Coalition for Proportional Electoral System in India.
Venue of the Launch: Senate Hall, Central College Campus, Bangalore University, Bangalore
Time of the Launch: 10 a.m. to 5 pm.
Date of the Launch: Saturday, 13 July 2013.
This comes to invite you in a special way to become part of the Launch of the South India Coalition. We also invite you to become an active member of this coalition and strengthen the consistent effort to usher in Proportional Electoral System in India.
We request you to kindly confirm your participation in the launch event in Bangalore on 13 July 2013. If you can do this by the end of June it help us to make necessary arrangements. Also please let us know how many persons will participate on behalf of your organisation/movement/party.
We look forward to a period of working together to make Indian democracy and governance more inclusive and efficient in favour of the poor, marginalized and excluded people.
An invitation by
Manohar Elavarthi /Sheema Mohsin
Convener / Co-Convener
Praja Rajakiya Vedike Welfare Party of India