Interactive Discussion on the Calibre and Merits of our Political Discourse; Questions Raised on Campaign Finance of Political Parties; and Impact & Relevance of Opinion Polls

L to R: Bhakta Charan Das (INC), Rajeshwar Dyal (FES), J M Lyngdoh (Former Election Commissioner, Ramesh Chandran (GPPI-CPR)

As part of the ongoing collaborative series of roundtables with the FES, GPPI-CPR organized a three-segment discussion on 16 December, 2013 that enlivens our present political landscape–

Calibre and Merits of our Political Discourse: Has it reached a new low?
The tone and tenor of our political oration and debate by party leaders have often been categorized as undignified and lacking in substance. Do the speeches lack clarity and vision for the country’s future? Why don’t national leaders publicly speak more substantively on issues relating to development and governance rather than resort to personal attacks and embroider speeches with sentimentality.

Questions Raised on Campaign Finance of Political Parties
How to usher in more transparency? For instance questions have emerged over Aam Aadmi Party’s overseas funding sources. Is it time to also investigate other major political parties such as Congress and BJP as well as smaller regional parties? Should Congress’ and BJP’s foreign funds be a matter of public interest? Will bringing them under the RTI scanner prove to be a step forward in that direction?

Opinion Polls: Should they be regulated and not banned? How far ahead of elections should they be allowed?
Opinion polls have been under severe criticism by some parties as being erroneous and manipulated. Are they true in disregarding such polls by claiming that they lack credibility? Can we find a middle ground for formulating regulations instead of banning them?

15 prominent Members of Parliament including Mr. Shantaram Naik, Mr. Bhubaneswar Kalita, Mr. H K Dua, Mr. Bharat Kumar Raut, Mr. Neeraj Shekhar and Mr. Ponnam Prabhakar had a candid discussion on the theme with Mr. J M Lyngdoh, Former Chief Election Commissioner who participated in the session.
L to R: Bharat Kumar Raut (Shiv Sena), H K Dua (Nominated MP), Shantaram Naik (INC), Bhubaneswar Kalita (INC)