The Good Governance India Foundation is challenging the inclusion of the word “socialist” to describe India in the preamble to the constitution. And it is also challenging the Act that requires all parties to swear by socialism to qualify to contest elections. That’s good news, even if the Supreme Court is yet to admit the petition.
In the Mint article, Ashis Nandy attempts to project this challenge as unimportant and irrelevant. Now that is exactly what those who want to perpetuate the status quo would do: inject apathy and public disinterest. That’s because it’s hard to defend socialism, much less require all parties to subscribe to it. So what better way to retain it than by telling everyone, including the Court, that it’s no big deal. As a previous discussion on this blog revealed, it’s tempting to believe so.
Well Ashis Nandy is wrong. S V Raju, of the Swatantra Party that was forced to deregister due to the swearing requirement, explains why:
It would be a lie and a lie is a lie whatever the reason. And the Election Commission demands it because it is part of the Representation of the People Act. The raison d’ etre for a liberal party is based on certain values. Without values we would be just another party like all the others merely adding to the multitude of the power hungry. Our aim ought to be getting democracy back on track and all that it entails and not as of now a five year ritual. [Mr Raju responds]