India is to see elections next month, and all debates have been overshadowed by talk about Narendra Modi of the BJP, Rahul Gandhi of the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi. In this scenario, Shamoly Khera of Mumbai calls for a debate of these three powerful political persons at a public platform. In the below reproduced petition at Change.org, Khera asks pertinent questions. – Editor
I am a proud Indian. In a few days, I am going to be casting my vote for the right party. But like many of you, I am still not sure which party to vote for and why.
This is because the campaign in the run up to the polls has been hijacked by ideological battles and shouting matches on television.
As an Indian citizen, it is my right to know exactly what policies various parties will pursue if voted to power.
This petition is a call for Narendra Modi of the BJP, Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party and Rahul Gandhi of the Congress to agree to a debate at a public and a neutral platform by 5 April 2014.
1. The BJP’s campaign has revolved around Narendra Modi’s ‘Gujarat model of development’ and his rousing speeches. But he has not yet explained how such a model can be replicated in states that need different solution sets.
2. The Congress campaign, led by Rahul Gandhi, has promised change, especially in combating corruption. However, he has not told us in detail how his government will be different from the current government.
3. Under Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership the Aam Aadmi Party has captured the nation’s imagination by exposing links between politics and big business. However, I am not sure what policies Mr Kejriwal and his team will introduce if voted.
While all parties say they have a manifesto, none of them have made their economic, social, developmental and strategic policies clear. But what good is a manifesto if the voters are unaware about it and if its contents cannot be debated?
As much as I love India, I shamefully admit that the real agenda of political parties has been lost in the shrill shouting matches, clever manipulation of facts and outright lies which cannot immediately be fact-checked.
This is why I am calling on all of you to support this campaign to have a debate on national television. If they wish, the format could allow for each of the three leaders to bring a team of their choosing.
Let us give them a platform to question each other and answer our questions in an organised and controlled environment.
Never before has such a debate been held in India, though worldwide it is an accepted norm by which contestants are filtered to perfection – This format is tested with successful results in democracies like the U.S. (since 1987) where a special Commission of Presidential Debates has been established to let the two Presidential candidates come forward and defend their party’s policies and reforms.
So, this is possible.
I am asking you to sign this petition, so that we collect one million signatures by 1 April 2014. Surely our political parties will listen to a million Indians who are only asking that a few critical questions be answered about the country we love dearly?