Political Parties and code of conduct
Do political parties need to be educated on people’s rights and constitution? Shamefully, enough events have proven that they do.
Here are a few examples of unconstitutional activities and speeches:
1. Varun Gandhi episodes
2. Shiv Sena and all other sena‘s – Why has the EC allowed parties to add the word ‘Sena’ in its name? It misleads people, esp. villagers and creates an association with the army. Creating any other army unit would be unconstitutional. Yes, these parties do not use weapons, but reports about Muthalik’s party training cadre for future armed combat were broadcast on TV. There are hundreds of regional parties with the word sena in their names. A psychological implication that should have been avoided.
3. Recently the Shiv Sena demanded permits formigrant workers in certain sectors in Maharashtra . That is divisive in nature. However, it is also indicative of a demand for a dual citizenship, the kind of system which exists in the US. Yes, we have a domiscile status when it comes to states in the Union. However, increasingly there are tendencies for the assertion of a regional identity. To avoid civil conflict, the future legislature must think of a system where these needs are answered without divisive forces gaining power.
4. Candidates try to pay off the public – Every time an election is on the horizon, politicians give things to people, sometimes via the backdoor. Most of the candidates do not consider these activities as bribing of the voters, but regard it as the only thing they do for voters as MP’s. The rest of the time they go around extorting money in various forms.
5. Candidates are unable to address issues effectively. For instance, Maneka Gandhi described people of Pilibhit as being illiterate in some interview. She also claimed that she was the sitting MP from there, till the LS was dissolved for the next elections. What did she do to ensure literacy? Candidates like her, would rather that people remain illiterate or that slums remain, so that they can collect funds for progress every time.
EC should conduct an online or a verbal interview on electoral code of conduct and approve candidature accordingly. Candidates who are unable to clear this interview, taped, and/ or live on tv, should not be issued tickets. A mammoth task, but possible after parties nominate candidates. It would also ensure that only responsible candidates stand for elections. While educational qualifications are mandatory, there is no test to find out about constitutional awareness. In fact, when elections are not there, universities in conjunction with EC should offer courses to politicians and wannabe MP’s on constiutional correctness and electoral code of conduct. Improvements in the code of conduct with specific instances, where candidates knowingly or unknowingly commit violations, needs to be documented in the form of a course or orientation to all parties, atleast three to six months in advance of any election.