M C Raj
In the recent past Indian media is full of reports of unlimited corruption in India at all levels. Today we have received a report about a huge corruption by the BJP government in Karnataka. Recently a gentleman called Anna Hazare went on a fast unto death against corruption in the central government. He is a Gandhian and therefore, when he went on a fast almost the whole country stood with him in its fight against corruption. The Government of India was in jitters. It called for negotiations with Hazare and agreed to set up a committee including him to bring about a Bill against corruption in the Indian Parliament. People who supported him were happy. But the next day of this announcement Hazare made a statement praising Narendra Modi who is the Chief Minister in Gujarat. He belongs to the BJP and has been accused of killing minorities. Some people who supported Hazare withdrew their support because of this Hindu communal colour. It is quite justified, as there are strong indications that Hazare was set up by the RSS and the Hindu Party BJP. One of the persons who stood with Hazare is Swami Agnivesh who is known for his radical stand in favour of the poor. But I have always stood against him, as I know that he is an upholder of caste system in India. He has written in support of Varna system, which is the same as caste system. All these joined hands with fascist communal forces in India and are fighting against corruption. If they win it will mean that BJP will come to power.
The same BJP is ruling party in Karnataka and the Chief Minister of Karnataka is found to have amassed wealth along with many of his ministers. It is daylight robbery of the resources of the people of Karnataka and the BJP party is not taking any action against a corrupt Chief Minister of their own party. Many people in India do not feel that corruption is an evil. Some decades ago Indira Gandhi justified corruption saying that it is a universal phenomenon.
When this is going on, the Sunday Guardian from Delhi has written an article about the anti-corruption struggle of Anna Hazare. Before publishing this article they interviewed me. The reason is simple. Anna Hazare was also speaking against electoral reforms as his next step. He says that Indian electoral system is full of corruption and wants to reform the Indian electoral system. But his reform will aim at only removing corruption and violence so that people may still have the present electoral system and not change it at all. Our present First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system is a British legacy. Most Indians think that what is good for Britain is also good for India. This is a slavish mentality. The Editor of the Magazine knows that our Organization has started also a national campaign for electoral reforms in India known as CERI. This campaign is supported by Misereor. This is a huge campaign that has spread into more than 20 States in India.
I did a research on the proportionate electoral system of Germany and wrote a book on the Political Theory and Praxis of Dalits. With this book as the foundation we started CERI with active support from Misereor and also Bread for the World. Our approach to electoral reforms in India is that proportionate electoral system will address effectively the question of communal violence and corruption in India. We are not saying that proportionate electoral system is the remedy for all the problems that India faces. But it is definitely one of the best answers that we have. We are focused on governance of the country with the participation of the citizens of India. You will be surprised to know that there are two members of Parliament in India now who won their seat with less than 10% of votes. The present Parliament of India has only 5 members who got more than 50% of votes. Parties with less than 30% of votes come to power in India because of FPTP electoral system. This means we have a lot of wasted votes in our democracy. It is very important that Indian reforms her electoral system first to bring about lasting changes in her governance of the country. I also made researches in Norway and New Zealand to see how the Dalit people and other minorities in India can find their right place in her representative democracy.
Our campaign has grown very fast. Now we are organizing a Workshop of electoral systems experts of the world in the month of October 2011. This Workshop will have many eminent scholars from all over the world. We are organizing it in Berlin. The German Dalit Solidarity Platform has joined hands with our Campaign as a strong supporter. This is a big mission that we have taken up in India in the best interest of inclusive democracy. Instead of crying over what others are doing to us we are now ready to take up leadership to take the country in new paths of inclusive governance. This way we hope to bring the Dalits, Adivasi/Tribal people, women, minorities and most backward castes communities in India into the Instruments and Mechanisms of governance.