The Chief Ministerial Debates

Just a thought…

During the US Presidential elections, the two main candidates face off in three pre-election debates. This gives each candidate to explain his position and policies. The incumbent can defend his administration's actions, and extol his achievements, whereas the challenger can point out the shortcomings. The debates are televised and attract a huge audience, and offer the viewing public a chance to evaluate one candidate vis-a-vis the other.

I'm wondering why not we have such debates in India. Of course, the Parliamentary elections throw up a new candidate each time, so it may not be possible. But in a state like Tamil Nadu, where the hanging chads point one way or the other, a debate featuring the supremos of the two fronts is technically possible.

Recently, I had posted a campaign speech of the Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, in which he had alleged that the Tamil Nadu Government had claimed very little of the actual money allocated by the Centre, but was it cribbing that funds were not allocated sufficiently. In response to this, a reader had questioned the timing of this allegation, asking why the FM had not responded to the State Govt's accusation, and why he chose the campaign plank to rake up the issue. If the Government and the Opposition (or their respective leaders) could indulge in an open televised debate outside the Assembly, such allegations can be sorted out.

The point here is that while each leader reels off accusations, the other parties need not respond to those accusations directly. This would, however, be necessary in a live debate. Without doubt, the leaders of the two fronts, Ms Jayalalithaa and Mr Karunanidhi are the tallest campaigners in the state. A live face-off between the two off them? Just the thought is mouth-watering!


7 comments so far

  1. manlion on

    “I am day-dreaming” was your comment when I stated that Congress is a better alternative to the two Dravidian parties. The Sun may rise in north, west or South but these two wouldn’t see face to face.

  2. Karthik on

    Naan nenachen… nee sollita! 😉 I was discussing this with my mom yesterday. MK Vs JJ.

  3. Vijay Krishna on

    @manlion: Very true, it will never happen. It’s just a thought, a dream.

    @Karthik: It was my uncle who suggested this to me, over a discussion, a week ago.

  4. Eshwar S on

    Vijay, this is a great idea. I think debates should be encouraged. As a matter of fact in the last lok sabha election, the only debate on TV was been the congress and bjp spokesman. Not many people actually watched it I believe. If we have more debates we can have greater accountability in govt.

  5. manlion on

    My suggestion, instead, would be that the Election Commission is given more powers to scruitinize the election manifesto of each party. As in corporates, each party should submit a project report for each of the promises together with revenue and expenditure projections so as to verify if the promises made are viable. If any scheme is found to be unviable, the election commission should instruct the concerned party to remove it from the manifest before it is released. This, to an extent, would deter the political parties from promising moon and mars.

  6. Anonymous on

    This really is a good idea, but this will not happen in Tamilnadu with MK & JJ. Talking with each other is considered sin as far as Dravidan politics is concerned. Even the kinds behave well. We have 2 leaders with rubbish in their heads.
    Haven’t you seen in the recent past during natural calamities, the DMK & its group colleted funds & gave it to PM’s relief fund. Both are only breeding criminals in their party.

  7. pappa on

    We may give a chamce to Captain or BJP since other parties are useless. It is a disgrace for the Congress of TN to have these present members

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