Intra-Party Democracy And Nuclear Disarmament

There are structural reasons why we do not have intra-party democracy in India, but I think that cultural reasons are important too.  Internal democracy is like nuclear disarmament – you can’t do it unilaterally.

In India, the cultural norm is that if you openly speak out against the leader of the party, you are not just disagreeing, but signalling a revolt. Reporters will breathlessly ask the critic if he is preparing to quit the party. News channels will quote sources close to the “two camps” which will talk of how the morale of the party  rank and file has been affected by the events. If you try to claim that there really aren’t any plans to split the party and the disagreements were just that – disagreements, the papers will speculate that the two camps are on the way to a patch up.

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