Is Democracy a monopoly only of the Elite?

by V. Anandasangaree

Being in active politics for over sixty years, I have gained enough experience in various aspects of political problems, the country and its people faced since the dawn of Independence in February 1948. Regrettably no one consulted me on any issue even in relation to politics.   That is why I remained silent without making any comments for or against the subject matter of the issue on which the Supreme Court was asked to give a ruling. Accordingly a divisional bench of the Supreme Court comprised of seven learned judges decreed that the dissolution of Parliament before the completion of four and a half years of its term of six years was unconstitutional and also that for such dissolution a two third majority of the members of Parliament is a requirement.

Fearing that any comment innocently made by
me, could be made liable to be charged for contempt of court, I remained silent
till the judgment was delivered.  On the
judgment itself I did not want to make any comments. Based on the evidence placed
before the court, the learned judges had given a unanimous verdict and hailed
by everyone as a fair judgment. I too agree, but my worry is only about the
comments of leaders of various political parties made in great haste, welcoming
the judgment given, based on the facts submitted to court by 10 various
contenders, whose prayers were almost the same. But of the 10 contenders, TNA
is one that cannot have any genuine grievance on the matters prayed for in
their petitions.

Since the country gained Independence in 1948
up to December 2001 all parliamentary elections held were free and fair with
hardly any violations of Democratic norms. The election held in December 2001
was perhaps one of the best elections held on democratic norms. But
unfortunately the parliament that was elected for a term of 6 years was not
allowed to go through its full period. Instead that parliament was prematurely
dissolved after 2 years 1 month and 18 days, without any justification. It was
only at the election that followed on 2nd April 2004, democracy got
completely derailed leaving the country in a terrible mess. It was also at this
election the TNA won 22 seats including 2 from the national list. The TNA
leaders condoned the conduct of an organization which under threat,
intimidation and large scale impersonation helped the TNA to sweep the polls.
Not only the TNA Leadership  failed to prevent
that organization interfering with the polling, the Government that was formed
at that time also failed in its duty either to expel the fraudulently elected
members or  to suspend them till
legislation is enacted, if no such provision is available, to deal with them in
the proper way. This indifference on the part of the authorities enabled the       TNA ‘s 20 elected members and their 2
national list members totaling 22 to serve their full term of six years and
also to gain legitimacy for the membership of parliament  they hold.

The strong request and pressure of the
elections monitoring teams both local and foreign for a    “re- poll” in the North and the East was
turned down by the Commissioner of Elections on the grounds that there are no
provisions in the law for such re-poll. In this situation it is still a mystery
as to why all the democratic organizations, NGO’s, Political parties, Human
rights organizations and such others within and out of the country, kept silent
without uttering one word condemning the TNA for illegally sitting and voting
in Parliament.  The political parties in
particular that failed to condemn the TNA as a fraudulent organization should
share the blame for the present situation. It may not be out of place to
mention as to how democratic forces were prevented from getting elected to
parliament by some armed groups at some previous elections also.     

It is very unfortunate that my repeated
protests were neither taken seriously nor recognize by anybody. I needless add
that the people were the biggest victims in this destruction process of
democracy with no hopes of its revival in the future as well. It is high time
now for all to get together and save democracy without allowing it to be meddled
with by interested parties of the “ELITE” and prevent repetition of this low
tactics for personal gains depriving the common man of his due rights.

I strongly urge the international community
to intervene genuinely in matters of this nature without favoring any
individual leader. There is nothing wrong in people hero-worshipping the
political leaders of their choice but the media should play an independent role
to guide the country in the proper way.  

My frank opinion is that if all facts related
to this episode had been brought to the notice of the court the verdict would  have been different. 

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