There is a view that for the economic development of India, the central government should be strong, meaning that the central government should have full majority and should have more powers than it has now. The growth rate of the economy during the first 30 years of independence when the central government was very strong under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, was less than 5%. However, when the central government was run by coalition parties in the recent past, i.e. when the central government was supposed to be weak, the growth rate of the economy has been very high – about 7% and in some years touching 9%. This growth was achieved from an even higher base than what it was during the rule of Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
It appears that in the coalition governments, all the ministers in the cabinet are motivated to work hard and deliver progress. This is logical because their reputation and future electability is at stake.
For a large and heterogeneous country like India, a two-party system is not at all good for the country. There are no two parties that can faithfully reflect the interests and aspirations of the diverse sections of the society and regions of the country.
For a large country like India, no two or three political parties can represent the interests and aspirations of the people. Each state has a different problem. The problems in North East are different from the rest of the country. The aspirations of the people of the South are different from those of the North. The states where the regional parties are dominant have economically progressed much better than the states where there are no regional parties. For example, Punjab, Haryana, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Goa, Maharashtra, where the regional parties are dominant, have shown better results than other states. This itself shows that there is need for one or two regional parties in every state. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan would do better in every field, if they had strong regional parties
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have not achieved much progress, even though they have regional parties. This is because of their size. The population of Uttar Pradesh which is about 180 million is two times the population of Vietnam (85 million people), which is the13th largest country in the world. If Uttar Pradesh is bifurcated into 5 states of 35 million people each, it will progress faster than at present. Punjab and Haryana became rich states after the composite state of Punjab was divided into Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Similarly Bihar needs to be divided into 2 or 3 states. If divided, the divided states would progress faster.
There is a lot of discussion about de-criminalisation of politics. By “de-criminalization” of politics, intellectuals mean that political parties should not give seats to those convicted of or alleged to be involved in crimes, to contest parliamentary, assembly or any local body election. The intellectuals also want these people to be expelled from their parties. While there can be no two opinions on the political parties not harboring criminals, it should be borne in mind that:
- There are possibilities and several instances of a person who committed a crime some time ago repenting for his misdeed , becoming a good person and leading saintly life
- There is no guarantee that a person who has not committed any crime till today, will not commit crime, in future
The main criterion for admitting people into the party and giving seats to contest elections, should be their interest and ability to serve the people.