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code of conduct



Contrary to observation, most parties in India have extreme internal 
discipline. When you see folks throwing mikes and engaging in 
fist-fights on TV, this is not apparent. But let's back up and examine 
what internal discipline is. Sometimes, there is very little difference 
between toeing the party line and "internal discipline". The current 
arrangement is fawning, no one can actually speak out against the big 
guns of a party and survive within the party, because the party is not a 
unit formed by the coming together of like-minded persons. 

If Kesri lays his cap at Rao's feet, and a few of some other 
politician's elected fellow MPs (some of them little more than thugs) 
rip each other's shirts in a fight, it is only our sense of propriety 
that distinguishes one from the other. Could it be that the system so 
favors sycophancy that members fall over themselves in "demonstrating" 
their loyalties?

The party whip too, often seen to be an irreplaceable component of 
internal discipline, can often be counter to democracy itself. As a 
voter, I want my elected representative to have the freedom to vote his 
conscience, and not be bound by loyalties enforced on him. As it stands, 
it simply is not possible for a junior MP to vote against the dictates 
of the party leaders without risking expulsion, the anti-defection law, 
and such other constructs. It is not the passionate defense of 
ideological positions that spawns stone-throwing in parliament, but 
rather the mindless servitude to individuals who are all-powerful within 
their parties, a bizarre form on "internal discipline".

Certainly, if ruffian-like behavior was the only basis for separating 
two MPs, I would prefer the quieter one myself. But merely because one 
is seated quietly in the seats without expressing vigorous dissent does 
not mean that one is serving us better. Remember the Shah-Bano case, 
where internal discipline subverted a perfectly legitimate process, 
which had the support of no less than the Supreme Court of the land.

I would rather have greater access to information on MP's voting 
records; the codes they truly follow will be quite obvious from studying 
them. 

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