Prashant Bhushan advocates participatory democracy

Prashant Bhushan advocates participatory democracy

Prashant Bhushan advocates participatory democracy

Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday strongly advocated the need for replacing the system of representative democracy with participatory democracy by taking up initiatives like referendum in the decision-taking process.

Speaking at a workshop on Electoral Reforms and Democratisation of Politics, he said any decision that affects a gram sabha should be taken by the local people only and not others. And initiatives like referendum should be taken up before taking any policy decision at State and national levels. “We have to give a measure of control to people on important issues. This is actual decentralisation of power and the true democracy. The AAP wants this type of decentralisation,” he stated.

Whereas under representative democracy, those elected to represent people take all important decisions without consulting people. This gives scope for cronyism. 

Most of the times, decisions are influenced by vested commercial interests. Indo-American nuclear agreement is a good example. The government yielded to the powerful commercial interest and pushed the agreement though it was a known fact that nuclear power was very expensive, he pointed out. 

Bhushan, who is also a Supreme Court advocate, said the existing majority rule system should be done away with and, instead, proportional representation wherein political parties get seats based on the total votes secured should be introduced. In this system, people can vote for the party of their choice, he added.

On the their success in Delhi, he said the party was able to get the people’s support because it was born out of a big anti-corruption movement. Besides, the party sought votes based on broader issues like corruption and administrative reforms. 

He predicted that no party or alliance will be able to get majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Any effort to cobble up majority through alliances to form the government will be immoral, he added.

Former chief justice of India M N Venkatachalaiah said anarchy in the country has been spreading cynicism, which is detrimental to democracy. There is no internal democracy in any political party. “We should not allow the system to collapse. We must bring people together and build a new system,” he added.

Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy said there is a need for changing the system and people's minds. People have brought in changes whenever the country faced difficult times. Extensive debate is necessary on the State funding of elections and making voting compulsory, he added.

Later, speaking at a round-table discussion electoral reforms, former legislator A T Ramaswamy said all religious mutts should be brought under the government control as they are harbouring black money. Once they are made accountable, flow of black money to politics will stop, he added.