Prajwal Revanna, the newly elected JD-S MP from Hassan in Karnataka, has offered to resign. For a preposterous reason. The MP, who hasn't yet taken the oath, wants to vacate the seat for his grandfather, former prime minister Deve Gowda. This decision may win him piety points and kudos over filial virtue but it flies in the face of democracy.
This is just the latest example of how Indian democracy has become less representational. The 'representation quotient' of Indian democracy has been on the wane over the last few decades. For every home-grown people's leader who gets elected there are at least ten who are foisted over the people by virtue of a representation system heavily manipulated by the party structure.
The parties get to decide who to be fielded and where. In the dynastic parties this easily becomes a joke. The Gowda family simply illustrates this. The party got seven Lok Sabha seats to contest in the 2019 elections. Three of these seats were appropriated by the single Gowda family.
Ridiculous family affair
You don't have to underscore the fact that these three - Hassan, Mandya and Tumakuru -- were the only winnable seats. The patriarch and his two grandsons contested from the winnable constituencies. Fortunately, two of them lost. But this was the sight of the party shrinking to the size of the Gowda clan's hearth. Who cares for the lakhs of workers, functionaries and leaders at various levels? Not to forget that Gowda's son, HD Kumaraswamy, is the chief minister of the state. Another son of his a minister in the state cabinet. And a wife of the chief minister is an MLA.
A classic case of everything that's yours is Gowdas' and everything that's Gowdas' is also Gowdas'!
In some reprieve for democracy, a huge chunk of JD-S supporters in Mandya begged to differ this time. They silently crossed floors to vote for independent candidate Sumalatha. And in Tumakuru, the voters gave their verdict against Deve Gowda getting another term in Parliament.
Now, Prajwal wants to be the nice guy. At the cost of the taxpayers, that is. If people rejected Gowda this time, so be it. Placing filial feelings above the basic mores of democracy is the result of the representational process becoming a family affair.
Democracy isn't child's play
How many of the newly elected MPs truly represent their constituents? Go by the yardstick of wealth, for example. Most of the legislators elected in the country are crorepatis. If they aren't, then they are scions of dynasties. Rare is the sight of a truly popular leader emerging from the ranks of the common people and getting elected to parliament. The parties have clamped down on true democracy and are suffocating it.
By offering to resign Prajwal Revanna just proves that he believes democracy is child's play. A case in point of not knowing the price of a thing, let alone its value. Elections involve huge costs. And they have a certain value in the democratic process. Prajwal Revanna doesn't seem to understand either.
(The author is Managing Editor, International Business Times, India. Views are personal. Reach the author at firstname.lastname@example.org)