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CEC on the internal democracy of parties
August 23, 2007 23:28 IST
Expressing concern over lack of internal democracy within several political parties, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami on Thursday virtually questioned their democratic credentials.
"Barring some exceptions, there is a reluctance to regularly hold organisational elections and when held, they are more for the record rather than genuine democratic exercises," he said.
Addressing a seminar on the 'Role and Functions of Political Parties', he cited an instance when one party, instead of holding elections for key posts, authorised the party president to do so.
"When the EC pointed out to their constitution not being adhered to, there was a protest that the EC should not question their democratic credentials," Gopalswami said.
The CEC wondered: "If the parties do not follow inner party democracy, then do their democratic credentials not become questionable?"
Besides, he said if that was the scenario, could it be truly claimed that democracy has matured in the country merely because there have been elections to state assemblies and Parliament for 55 years.
Gopalswami also expressed concern that the average age of the Member of the Lok Sabha as also of the Rajya Sabha has gone up in recent years at a time when the country as a whole was getting comparatively younger.
He said it was a little kept secret that the actual expenditure incurred by the candidates in elections is many times higher than the ceilings prescribed. "This raises the barrier for entry to aspiring young people with an ambition to contribute to the political process," he said.