Monday, June 3, 2013

Rudy seeks direct election of PM, moves Bill to keep MPs out of ministries –

At a time when serious questions are being raised over Parliament not being able to carry out its legislative work owing to frequent disruptions, BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy has moved a private member's Bill calling for selection of the prime minister through direct elections — in other words a presidential form of government — and confining MPs and MLAs to only law making.

Rudy has suggested de-linking of the executive from elected political representatives both in the states and at the Centre. The elected representatives, he has said, should "confine themselves to framing of laws and hold others accountable for implementation of law, rather than be implementers of law themselves".

Barring lawmakers from assuming ministerial or other positions, he argues, would weed out corrupt elements as politics would no more be attractive to them. Moreover, such a form of governance would ensure that national agenda and priorities and foreign and other policies do not become subservient to regional demands in the name of survival of a government.

The prime minister or the chief minister — in his words the "chief executive" at the Centre and states — should be selected through direct elections like in the US and some European countries. "They can pick whosoever they want as ministers," he told The Indian Express.

Although Rudy is not the first in the BJP to float the idea — L K Advani had suggested around 15 years ago that India should go in for a presidential form of government — he is perhaps the first MP to float a private member's Bill in this regard. It was listed in Rajya Sabha but could not be taken up since the House did not function.

Rudy has argued that the Westminster parliamentary form of democracy adopted by India has failed to achieve the basis objectives enshrined in the Constitution. Dysfunctional governments, lack of delivery and accountability, he says, have spawned civil society movements involving the middle class in some urban areas and violent forms of Naxalism in several rural areas.

"If law makers are prevented from becoming ministers or holding other posts, only those who are seriously interested in the process of law making would enter politics," Rudy said.

"The provision of whips on legislators, filing affidavits of having no criminal record and regarding assets and liabilities to contest elections, imposition of anti-defection laws, curbs on election expenditure have all been legislated to establish the credibility of elected representative... making the very basics of electability a suspect," his private member's Bill says.

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