The Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Naveen Chawla was recently known to have expressed his concern at the increase in the number of political parties registered with the Election Commission. He is also reported to be worried at the increase in the average number of candidates per Lok Sabha seat during the last elections.
According to the CEC, most of these candidates are “non-serious”. He has therefore suggested measures to curb the increase in number of candidates and number of registered political parties. The CEC has suggested that registered political parties which do not contest elections be derecognized.
LRS denounces this suggestion of the CEC, as a blatant attempt to prevent people from participating in the political process in any other way than as mere voting cattle.
The vast majority of the people of our country are already completely marginalised from the political process. They have no role in taking vital decisions that affect their lives. The political process is heavily dominated by the handful of political parties that serve the interests of the biggest monopoly capitalists, Indian and foreign. The political party or coalition of parties that comes to power defends their interests while it stands as a gatekeeper, keeping the masses of people out from political power. This is the biggest problem before the masses of people in our country today.
In this situation, various political forces have been active among the people, organizing them in defence of their interests. Some of them have organized themselves into political parties. In different parts of the country such forces have also, from time to time, fielded candidates from amongst the people for elections at different levels, with the aim of challenging the domination of the political parties of the big capitalists over the electoral process. Voices are increasingly being raised across the length and breadth of the country, demanding the right to reject candidates nominated by the political parties of the big bourgeoisie, for accountability of the elected representatives and for the right to recall those found guilty of violating the interests of the people.
The problem with the political process in our country is not the presence of independent candidates or small parties, as the CEC is trying to make out. The problem is that the existing political process blatantly serves and is dominated by the political parties of the big monopoly capitalists.
To contest elections at different levels is the right of every citizen. This right is already circumscribed by the fact that large sections of our people (government employees, armed forces personnel, etc.) are actually debarred from standing in elections. This right is impossible to realize for the vast majority of our toiling people who simply cannot afford the expenses for standing in elections. The demand of the times is to work out the mechanisms by which everyone in enabled to participate in the political process, including by contesting as a candidate. Therefore, all moves of the present government, of the established political parties, and of the ruling class to attack this right of our people must be vehemently opposed.
Similarly, people have the right to organize themselves into a political party and to register themselves as a political party with the Election Commission. It is the right of the political party to decide whether to stand in elections or not and how many candidates to field, so as to best serve its objective of empowering the people. The proposal to deregister political parties is an attack on the right of people to organize themselves and come to power, which must be vigorously opposed.
It is well known that over the years, the Representation of Peoples Act has been continuously amended in favour of a handful of parties of the ruling class. There is no level playing field between the recognized political parties serving the big monopolies and the independents and smaller registered parties. The proposed moves of the CEC will only further tilt the balance in favour of the former.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls upon all to come together to innovate a political process that can ensure the right of all citizens to organize themselves and participate in the political process, to select candidates of their choice, elect and be elected, to take part in making decisions that affect the masses of people.