Leaders of some Opposition parties recommended that the country should switch over to the system of proportional representation in Parliament rather than adhere to the first-past-the-post principle.
The suggestion was made at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and backed by the Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj did not oppose the idea but said the matter would have to be debated within her party.
Yechury made a strong case for switching over to a system that apportions seats in Parliament according to the percentage of votes polled by a party. He said this would truly reflect the will of the people.
“You can end use of money power in the polls and blackmail by smaller parties of a coalition if you switch over to the proportional system,” Yechury said. “People can vote for parties and decide who must have the maximum number of seats in Parliament to govern,” he added.
Badal supported the suggestion, pointing out that no single party has been able to get more than 30 to 45 per cent votes.
As the two-day event turned attention to the role of the Opposition in the challenges ahead, Swaraj and Yechury said their parties served the country by acting as watchdogs of democracy.
Defending the Left’s role when it backed the United Progressive Alliance government after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Yechury said his party had played the role of the “Opposition within”.
“If we had not stopped reforms sought to be brought in banking, insurance, pension funds and financial systems,
our country could have faced a grave crisis when the rest of the world was hit,” he said.
On politicians creating ugly scenes in Parliament, Yechury said, “If you want to end unruly behaviour in Parliament, stop the telecast of some proceedings.”
Swaraj said, “It is Zero Hour that sees a lot of hungama, which is picked up by the TV channels and the print media. Nobody covers important debates as they are not seen as sensational items for viewers or readers.”