Shashi Tharoor bats for Presidential form of Government

 

BY :- Karan Arora

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor seems to be courting a fresh controversy by suggesting that India takes a re-look at its parliamentary style of democracy.

In a recent article for project Syndicate, “One clear downside of India’s perennial electioneering is that prime ministers must frequently leave aside their role as leader of the country to act as leader of their party,” Tharoor wrote in his Project Syndicate piece.

A Presidential system would “enable leaders to focus on representing the people, instead of on staying in power,” he added.

We can think of reforming the system but a complete scrapping is not suitable for a country like India.

But it is correct that amount of the time the prime Minister spends campaigning he should work for the welfare of the nation.

 Some disadvantages of having a Presidential System of India are:-

  1. The Presidential system has the tendency to degenerate into a dictatorship. The result is that the rights of the citizens may be trampled upon, the views of political opponents, suppressed and their individual liberties are taken away from them.
  2. In a presidential system, sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate between issues that are purely national and those that are purely partisan issues. This is because the same person represents the face of the party in power and at the same time the leader of the state.
  3. In a Presidential system, the executive stays in power for a fixed term. The disadvantage is that if by the middle of his term of office his policies no longer favor the people, he cannot be removed unless he serves his term in full.
  4. Since there is fixed term of office for the president and periodic elections to renew mandate, the executive may lose focus too much on winning the next election and therefore lose his focus on his core function. Also, the party of the president will be more concerned about staying in power than on the problems of the people.

 

To be sure, this is not the first time Tharoor has made a case for the presidential form of government  i.e. with the President rather than the Prime Minister as the Chief executive and with a fixed term for the former. One of the previous instances was in 2007 and another in 2011. The first seems to have been in the backdrop of pressure from the then ruling Congress party’s coalition allies while the second was in the context of frequent disruptions of parliament by then opposition led by the now ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Interestingly, the congress party had vehemently opposed the idea of a presidential form of government when then Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani of the BJP called for a debate on the subject in the late 1990s.

 

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