US poll caucuses: Like Hillary-Sanders, why we never see a Modi vs Nitish debate

A significant feature of American presidential election is the election that the country's contesting parties first go through before the final battle. This year, both the Democratic and Republican parties are seeing absorbing contests with no definite answer over who would have the final say.

While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party are virtually tied at the moment, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and a few others in the Republican Party are also fighting it out to maintain a lead in the race for the presidential nomination and the White House.

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Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

The candidates are engaging in debates and arguments to corner the opponent, something which is key for a healthy democracy.

Yes, Trump's words were not up to the mark at times but he faced a strong criticism for such act. Overall, differences in the American democracy still find the channels for a decent expression.

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Comparing the ugly spat in NDA over Modi's elevation in NDA in June 2013

In India, the same issue leads to an opposite result. In June 2013, when the high-voltage parliamentary election in the country was less than a year away, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising two heavyweight chief ministers Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar saw a serious fracture.

The Bihar CM refused to accept the rise of his Gujarat counterpart in the ranks of the alliance to emerge as it face for the Lok Sabha elections. Stirring up a controversy over the eternal secular-communal debate, Nitish called off the 17-year-old alliance between his Janata Dal (United) and the BJP.

Modi later went on to become the NDA's prime ministerial candidate and eventually the prime minister the next year.

Advani couldn't digest Modi's elevation as PM candidate

The process of choosing the PM candidate was not smooth in the BJP either. Party patriarch and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani was so upset over Modi's nomination that he refused to be present on the occasion. The difference is far from being bridged today as many believe.

Anti-Modi voices across the political spectrum often express sympathy for the patriarch who the PM was accused of sidelining for his personal gains.

So when a Clinton and Sanders can do it in a way which speaks about the US democracy in a positive way, why does the scenario in India looks disappointing?

In India, personality clashes prevail over institutionalised democracy

The main reason for the political tussles in India is the lack of internal democracy. Since there is no culture of debating issues of national interest, the Indian politicians only focus on personal ego clashes to emerge as a better choice.

In India, why can't we have debates over candidate nomination?

Had there been a process of democratically debating who would make a better prime ministerial candidate in the NDA, one feels those ugly scenes of 2013 could have been avoided and the loser would gracefully withdraw from the race after finishing the second-best.

But the post-Indira Gandhi India is more obsessed with personality cult and dynastic politics and not institutionalised democracy, whether in party or at the level of governance.

The Indian politicians, one suppose, are also too opportunistic and have their vision limited to election results.

Given this lack of a bigger visualisation and only focus on power formation involving the votes of a largely underqualified electorate, our leaders don't feel the necessity of take things to a better level. They just remain busy in scoring one more point by attacking the opponent in a crass language.

Hence, we remain a quantitative democracy while the US leads as a qualitative one.

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