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Vajpayee for debate on presidential system - The Times of India

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
12 November 1996

Title : Vajpayee for debate on presidential system
Author :
Publication : The Times of India
Date : November 12, 1996

Former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Monday
suggested a serious nationwide debate on adopting the
presidential system of government, saying the present
parliamentary system has failed to deliver the goods.

Mr Vajpayee said there should be a debate on all the
possible alternatives for a system change to cleanse the
democratic governing system in the country of its present
ills, and added, "we should not shy away from 'discussing
the merits of even the presidential system."

Delivering the 13th Desraj Chowdhary annual memorial
lecture here, Mr Vajpayee said if the presidential system
of government was considered impractical or undesirable,
then radical and undelayed changes should be Introduced
in the present parliamentary democracy system itself.

The senior BJP leader suggested introduction of propor-
tional representation ("list system") doing away with the
present "first past the post" system, public funding of
elections, transparency and accountability In the collec-
tion of funds and their expenditure, and democratic
functioning of political parties.

The function, organised by Chandravati Chaudhry Smarak
Trust, was Presided over by BJP's Delhi unit chief Kidar
Nath Sahani.

Underlining the need for a drastic Change in the struc-
ture of governance, Mr Vajpayee asked, "If the majority
of our population Is deprived of both power and the
fruits of socioeconomic progress, isn't it obvious that
we need to take a re-look at our framework of

Neither Parliament nor the state assemblies are doing
with any degree of competence or commitment what they are
primarily meant to do - legislation, he said, adding
their inability and apparent-unwillingness to perform
this function is due to a number of reasons.

Barring exceptions, those who get elected to these apex
democratic institutions are neither trained, formally or
informally, in law-making nor do they seem to have,an
inclination to develop the necessary knowledge and com-
petence in their profession, the former prime minister

He said those who were genuinely interested in serving
the electorate and performing legislative function were
finding it increasingly difficult to succeed in today's
electoral system which has been "totally subverted by
money power, muscle power, and vote-bank considerations
of castes and communities."

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