Sushma Swaraj kicks off debate for presidential form of government

Published on Nov 18, 2006 09:42 PM IST

Sushma Swaraj has sought to kick off a fresh debate on parliamentary versus presidential system of government for the country, reports Shekhar Iyer.

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None | ByShekhar Iyer, New Delhi

Whether it is a loud thinking by the BJP or views of an individual leader, BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj has sought to kick off a fresh debate on parliamentary versus presidential system of government for the country.

Advocating a presidential form of government for India, she says a leader in the parliamentary system does not strike a direct rapport with the people.

"The time has come when the whole electoral system needs to be reviewed. Parliamentary democracy does have its own demerits. A leader under this system fails to strike a direct rapport with his people," she wrote in the BJP journal Kamal Sandesh special issue.

Swaraj told Hindustan Times that she had put her views on the subject and parried a question on whether the issue had been debated with other BJP leaders.

Senior BJP leaders like former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee have always spoken in favour of the parliamentary system, calling it the one that gives voice to many people's aspirations. Other BJP leaders refused to comment on Swaraj's views.

She said the present system allows even those "who were incapable of mustering the support of a single member of Parliament to occupy the office of Prime Minister."

She said, "If we have to get rid of this malaise, we will have to adopt the presidential form of government in place of the present parliamentary system."

Swaraj said, "This (parliamentary) system leaves much room for manipulation and making and unmaking of alliances. In a one-party rule, there is less chance for such possibilities. But, during the last decade, an era of coalition with great scope for manipulation has set in."

Swaraj gave the US Congress as an example, saying it is more powerful than the US President.

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