So dear Navjot Singh Siddhu has decided to float a new party and contest Punjab Assembly elections. Best of luck Mr. Siddhu.
The bane of our country is multiplicity of political parties. Today we have seven so called ‘national parties’, 48 ‘regional parties’ and 24 ‘unrecognized regional parties’ with sizable clout in their area of influence. Any small time leader can form a party and, if not come to power, can squeeze other parties for his personal benefit. All these parties can and contest elections for both, the Vidhan Sabha and the Lok Sabha. More often than not, we get hung assemblies and Lok Sabha. We all know of the horse trading that goes behind the curtain in a bid to seize power.
A registered party is recognized as a ‘National Party’ only if it fulfills any one of the following three conditions:
- The party wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least 3 different States.
- At a General Election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6% of votes in four States and in addition it wins 4 Lok Sabha seats.
- A party gets recognition as State Party in four or more States.
While a registered party has to fulfill any of the following conditions for recognition as a State Party:
- It should win minimum three percent of the total number of seats or a minimum of three seats in the Legislative Assembly
- It should win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to that State
- A political party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled during general election to a Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly and should, in addition, win at least one Lok Sabha, and two Legislative Assembly seats in that election.
- Even if a Party fails to win any seat in a State in a general election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly of the State, the party will still be eligible for recognition as State Party if it secures 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the State.
We need to restrict the number of political parties in the country. At present, any person who does not have a criminal background, i.e., has not spent more than two years in jail, can contest election for state assembly by depositing 5000/- (2500/-SC/ST) as security deposit. To contest election to the parliament, he has to deposit 10000/- (5000/- for SC/ST). The name of an independent candidate must be proposed by at least ten persons.
No wonder we find dozens of candidates contesting from each constituency. The stakes are negligible. We can restrict the number of mushrooming political parties and candidates by bringing in stringent rules. For example,
- Only national parties be allowed to contest elections for the parliament. Regional parties be barred.
- A party be recognized as national party only if it is recognized as a regional party in at least 50% of Indian states and Union Territories. If this is done, we will be left with only two national parties, INC and BJP. And whatever PM Modi says, we do not want a Congress mukt Bharat. We will settle for Nehru-Gandhi parivar mukt Congress.
- The name of an independent candidate be proposed by at least 100 persons.
- The amount of security deposit be raised to Rs.100000/- for state assemblies and 500000/- for the parliament elections. This will discourage the non-serious candidates who file their nominations only to withdraw after getting personal benefits.
- Any person facing criminal action in any court of law be barred from contesting elections.
- Only educated persons (those who have passed at least twelfth) be allowed to contest.
But it is expecting too much. Or is it!!!!!!