Dialogue Instead of Debate

The basis of democracy is decision making based on majority. However, our concept of a harmonious village expects decisions based on consensus arrived at after in-depth deliberation. The idea of consensus is definitely more desirable than that of majority because decisions so taken carry the strength of the entire group.

The Samras Gram entails villagers choosing their representatives based on consensus. Many people inspire others by choosing to sacrifice their current achievement for the welfare of the village.

The entire process emphasizes dialogue, not by debate. I would like to congratulate those villages which have opted for consensus-based elections for sarpanch. I respect those who have been selected as sarpanch with the idea of promoting harmony in their villages, as well as the members of the panchayat. However, those who have sacrificed their rights and stayed away from participating in the elections also deserve congratulations. My idea of a Samras Gram was based on the desire to see prosperity in the villages of Gujarat.

There are some who object to this. They believe that the concept of Samras Gram does not match with democracy; it violates our Constitution; Modi has killed democracy because he does not allow elections to take place.

I have never said that elections should not be allowed – I have said that the entire village should together take the decision of election.

Democracy considers all proportions to be equal – whether it is a 60:40 ratio, 75:25, 80:20 or 90:10. If even a ratio of 99:1 is considered as democratic, how can a ratio of 100:0 not be democratic? When everyone agrees to one decision, it is not the murder of democracy but indicates its health.

If elections are won without unnecessary expenditure and conflicts, what is the harm?

If a sarpanch can be elected by all the villagers through consensus, how does it mean the end of democracy? Our friends in the Congress have declared that they will not allow a single village to function in this harmonious manner.

I would like to ask them whether they know that the President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, has also been elected in this harmonious manner.

All the political parties mutually decided not to have presidential elections and it worked.

If the President of the country can be selected without election then what is the problem if villages also do so?

We proudly proclaim our unity and progressiveness by saying that our President is selected, not elected; but if villagers select their Sarpanch, it becomes an issue.

It is very important to save Gujarat from such people who have a negative mentality. In spite of such negative approach, 28% of villages in Gujarat have panchayat selected through consensus – this is not a small feat.

It reiterates my strong belief that people are always interested in progress.