The political leaders started lobbying hard to get party tickets, with the assembly polls in five states getting closer. No political party is immune to it but the Congress and the BJP seem to be facing the problem severely. In Madhya Pradesh, a Congress leader committed suicide as the party has not nominated him in the assembly polls. In addition to it, expressing dissatisfaction over ticket distribution, several Congress workers lodged protest against Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Natarajan. Similar is the story with BJP which is also facing rebellion over ticket distribution. Several party leaders including senior leader Harsharan Singh Balli and former chief minister Sahib Singh Verma’s brother Azad Singh have decided to quit the BJP after being denied party tickets in Delhi assembly polls. In Rajasthan too, several MLAs announced to resign from the party which has allotted no symbols to them. With the announcement of party candidates, the number of disgruntled leaders will increase. Such people are not only making hue and cry but also alleging party high commands of trading tickets. Some of them are turning rebellious, whereas many others are switching loyalties. Political parties witness such rebellion before every election and they themselves are responsible for it. Astonishingly, the political parties ignore the loss they suffer due to discontent over ticket distribution. The political leaders are aware of the fact that the lack of transparency in ticket distribution leads to factionalism in the party. Despite, they are taking no corrective measures.

If the number of discontented leaders grows up in a particular constituency, the party concerned is prone to face defeat. Earlier, the rebellion of discontented leaders was not a big problem due to less number of ticket seekers and discipline among them. Today, the politics has become a tool to make money. Even in the municipality elections too, large number of political workers aspire for party tickets. The competent people are finding it difficult to get party symbols as no proper system for selection of candidates exists. Regional parties face no such problem as these are run by one person or a particular family. Such parties have no internal democracy. Since there is better coordination between the party chief and workers in the regional parties, the chance of dissatisfaction over ticket distribution becomes less. This is probably the reason behind success of smaller parties. In contrary, both the Congress and the BJP continue to face mounting problem in every election but they ignore it after poll result. They are developing no measures to contain this. Both the national parties have confidential criteria for candidate selection. It is being assumed that the candidates are selected on the basis of recommendations made by observers and local leaders, but nobody knows if such norms are adopted while allotting party symbols. Generally, many candidates with lukewarm support try their luck in elections.         

This is the right of the people, especially voters and a popular demand of the democracy as well that genuine candidates are fielded in elections. People get disappointed if incompetent candidates are given party tickets. They choose to remain confined in their houses and this very situation needs to be changed. A procedure requires to be adopted through which only able and deserving candidates get poll tickets. And if possible, even the common people’s views should be taken into consideration and a scope for limited competition between ticket contenders may be held. This process is followed in several countries across the world. In United States of America, a debate is held among the party members before an individual is nominated for the Presidential elections. Only by adopting such a policy, our political parties can hope to field honest candidates in the elections. In fact, it’s pretty unfortunate that no political party has ever given any serious thought over going for such a procedure.

Though Election Commission has no role in selection of candidates, the Parliament for sure can do something concrete in this regard so that attention can be paid to this drawback. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is showing some keen interest in this regard but it is difficult to say whether the Gandhi scion’s activity will be potent enough to bring some fundamental changes. Rahul Gandhi’s move to make the candidate selection process more transparent and democratic is yet to derive result. Meanwhile, the credit for electoral reforms goes to judiciary especially Supreme Court instead of politicians.

The SC has recently provided the option of None Of The Above (NOTA) to the voters. This move is, of course, not an outcome of politicians’ efforts. In fact, the Election Commission had suggested the inclusion of this option around ten years ago. However, the political parties were not ready for it. Had the SC not ordered the incorporation of NOTA option in Electronic Voting Machines, nothing tangible in this direction would have ever happened. In order to select candidates, a modus operandi, on the lines of American model should be adopted and only then, a drastic change can emerge. It’s however pretty unclear that whether political parties would be ready to make a move in this very direction as they are not even ready to devise the rules and regulations of coalition politics.

India is known as the biggest democracy in the world. Taking this very fact into consideration, the political parties must ensure transparent electioneering to increase voters’ participation in it. To gain people’s confidence, the political parties should come forward with a message that they would not misuse their votes. The politicians should lay stress upon the fact that they would make the democratic process more transparent. One can’t deny the fact that the coalition politics is the buzz word of contemporary era and it may continue to rule the political scenario for quite a long time. At the same time, the present age of politics has become synonymous to arbitrariness of political parties. If the process of naming candidates is strengthened and rules of coalition politics are drafted, this would not only solve a number of problems prevalent in the realm of politics but also lend a lease of fresh life to Indian democracy.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on November 10, 2013 translated by the English editorial. The author is the Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)