So You Think You Can Vote?

It’s 4 AM on a nippy Saturday morning as this writer ventures into Chedis for a cup of tea. Huddled together in a corner are three Hall Presidents. A polite nod, batchmate to batchmate, is followed by a realization – Election season is here. Just like the three years before this one, I spend a moment seething over how the existence of a ‘pact system’ is an insult to the Kgpian’s intelligence.

At IIT Kharagpur, we’re some of the most fortunate, educated citizens of the world’s largest democracy. For the better or for worse, many in the country look up to us to be model citizens and good engineers, dedicated to the service of the nation. While the two-part irony of the latter expectation is entitled to another editorial, the former surely entails that we be rational, prudent and independent, especially when it comes to exercising our franchise in our mini-democratic setup. Not only do elections provide the average Kgpian his most direct chance to influence student policy, they speak to the unparalleled democratic nature of this unique, almost unlikely nation. Since IIT is such a hallowed institution, symbolic of a nation’s pride, it is reasonable to expect elections here to be untainted and its participants, candidates and voters, to be as ideally eligible and informed, respectively, as possible.

Enter the pact system.

At the fag end of every session, an often unconvincing process ‘elects’ each hall’s most loyal foot soldiers and lieutenants to HCM posts. While HPs and SSMs are, for the most part, concerned with general student welfare, GC performance and OP-timization, the weeks leading up to elections witness democracy subverted in an appalling way. Number of first years, personal relationships and ambitions are pitched with great bargaining and lobbying skill to come up with the best ‘deal’ for each ‘Hall’. Candidatures for all major posts are informally divided up amongst Halls to form two pacts, and nominees chosen via nepotistic intra-hall selection procedures.  Efforts are expended to discourage independents from contesting and to win over the larger, comparatively pact-neutral PG populace. On Election Day, mails are sent out on hall Google Groups instructing people to vote for the right set of candidates. HCM patrol the area outside Election Booths, passing on reminder chits.

By the time results are announced, pacts are shelved – till next year. It’s each hall to its own.

It’s fundamentally flawed to divide Halls into pacts. Halls don’t represent ideologies, and hence cannot be compared to political parties. Moreover, hall assignment is arbitrary for most students. Even more whimsical is the formation of informal agreements which (for example) allow only one hall/pact to field a VP candidate. However, in this case, the whim is a personal fancy of a Hall President and his friend. Never mind that the post-holder is supposed to represent the student body as a whole. He sits in on your Disciplinary Committee hearing and tries to coax Dominoes Pizza to open an outlet on campus. Surely, you don’t want a capriciously chosen person to be in charge of student welfare for a whole year? How are candidates selected inside a particular hall? It’s a process with zero transparency, where charisma, popularity and achievements are considered, but equally important is the aspirant’s rapport with influential seniors. Does it even matter what hall an institute-level postholder lives in?

Delusions of hall pride in the minds of a few aside, a reason often given by GC-crazed junta for having a resident as a G.Sec is that he might just tilt the balance in that crucial sub-committee meeting, which could just result in so-and-so GC coming back to its rightful home. Not only is this a poor representation of the spirit of the GC, RK’s stellar show in this year’s soc-cult GC has shown that there’s nothing like solid, consistent performance to bag a GC. This outlook also overlooks the fact that G.Secs are vitally responsible for the smooth conduction of Kshitij, SF and Inter-IIT.

If it were not enough that candidates are allocated in an obscure, seemingly irrational manner, the strength of a particular pact is estimated by the total number of residents of all its Halls. If you sit back and think, the sole reason that pacts exist is the belief (of a few) that (most) free individuals can be counted upon to vote a particular way only because they live in a certain Hall. And hence the indignation referred to in the first paragraph. A happa’s personal ego is no cause for you to vote for an incompetent candidate belonging to the pact your hall was entered into without your consent or foreknowledge. And while we’re at it, it’s better to not vote at all than choosing a person randomly or because their nickname tickles you.

The only defense offered by proponents of the pact system is that there’s no better alternative. Any system that allows independent candidates to stand will result in an unmanageable number of candidates, they’ll have you believe. First off, that’s unproven. Contesting in elections is a time-consuming and tiring job. Measures like instating a cash deposit (which will only be returned if the candidate manages to secure a certain percentage of votes) and mandating interviews with the administration to establish credentials will help deter random people from contesting.

The fact is that the pact system is convenient to those who perceive themselves to be kingmakers, and since it’s all unofficial, will continue. At TSA, we can’t stop egoists from getting together, pre-counting and dividing up your votes. Our only hope is that you think before you tick. As responsible members of the student community, it is in our best interests to ensure that the most capable candidates are voted in. An informed choice can be made by assessing personality, poise under fire (during the SOP), past achievements, and objective reviews from those who have worked with the contestant. Use your judgment and vote right.

May the best candidate win!

 

30 Comments

  1. Arkaprava Dan says:

    Ok, who honestly thinks the pact system does anything bad? Like you said, "we’re some of the most fortunate, educated citizens of the world’s largest democracy". Do you really see the VP elected from one set of halls either oppressing the other set, or in any way heavily favouring their own set? It is true he'll favour it somewhat, since he gets to know the problems of that set of halls firsthand.

    Without the pact system, you have a VP who is accountable to no one (don't give me that dialogue about how he's accountable to EVERYONE, because you know he's not, independent candidates never are – they don't have anything to lose, they won't be standing in the next elections, so no voter appeasement is necessary). With the pact system, you have a VP who is accountable to at least his own hall members and seniors. Without it, you'll have people standing for the elections who just want to fill their resumes. Sweet-talkers will get the votes, then do nothing.

    I am all for the pact system. Multipartite democracy is what is screwing India. Maybe bipartite democracy isn't the correct answer, but it definitely is a better answer.

    Author of the post – I have a genuine question for you. Do you have any idea what goes on in the whole process, have you ever sat in on any of the hall-level/gymkhana-level meetings? Or are you just a casual writer?

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      I honestly think that the pact system does a lot of bad things. You say the VP doesn't favour or oppress selectively, and then you say that that VP is accountable to his hall seniors. Now, you're wrong on both counts.

      I’ll agree with you when you say that there is no suitable accountability system at KGP. No, Arka, the VP is NOT accountable to his hall seniors. His hall seniors don’t give a damn about whether proposals get fulfilled or not. In fact, when he is criticized mid-term for not fulfilling his proposals, his hall seniors will come and defend him, not help nail/impeach him. Sweet talkers WILL talk. But that is the case even when this pact system exists, and that is why we need a system to review VPs periodically, generate pressure against them mid-term, perhaps – a measure TSA plans to take up next semester in its attempt to see elections at Kgp become fair.

      On that point of fairness is where my principal problem against the pact system lies. Pacts are formed on the ASSUMPTION that Hall Presidents and their ilk will be able to get most residents (or at any rate, first and second years) to vote accordingly! Now when you say you support the pact system, you support the corruption of democracy itself. Even I as a first year was influenced to some extent – atleast for the G.Sec candidates – by the Happa and G.Secs roaming around outside the common room hissing reminders in my ear. How is that a system we can accept? How is the division of posts among the halls democratic? What do you do if you have a very able candidate each for G.Sec Sports, Tech and Soc-cult, and you’re not Nehru? What if you have a real stud 3rd year, but have fielded 2 VP candidates in the years immediately following this one? What of independents who get spit on, slapped and bullied around like no tomorrow?

      No, I have not sat in on Hall meetings (and thank god for that) but I am not a casual writer as well. I have, as a member of TSA, tried my best to get people to ignore pacts atleast while voting, so that these power transactions become meaningless and in the long term, independents can stand. Mechanisms to limit the number of candidates can and will be found, and independents will be encouraged to stand. <An example is the IIT – Bombay election system, which will be featured in a guest article soon. Keep your eyes peeled>

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Achyut Bihani If you can do what you say you want to do, there will probably be no better thing. Until that happens though, the pact system is still the best solution.

      You may think that the seniors don't generate pressure on the VP, but fact is, they do. Why do they come to save him? Because you're not electing a VP, you're electing a Hall. So when you're criticizing the VP, you're criticizing the Hall. They'll defend the VP in front of you, but they will chew the VP up behind the scenes – at least the pnes who suggested his name will do so.

      Therein lies the concept of democracy in KGP. VPs aren't elected, Halls are elected. If you field an incompetent VP, next year, no one will want your VP candi, no one will want to form a pact with you (of course, a pact will be formed, but it will be a reluctant, unwilling pact). VPs don't stand in elections the next year, but Halls do. This is why the pact system works. If a hall is somewhat favored by its VP one year, next year another hall gets favored, and all in all, the things even out.

      If you can put into effect your mid-year evaluation thing, then that may be a good thing, but I have a feeling that there will be sweet-talkers (I know a few who have no real calibre, make the juniors work, then take credit for their work – then people see that work as that person's past achievement), and there will be faulty elections because – come on, who goes to see the VP debate? Out of 8000 students, maybe 500 turn up, and there will be no effect of your accountability system because a VP who just wants to build his resume will do the bare minimum to not get impeached. The Halls are the best accountability system you can have.

      Any problem in the Hall? Immediately the VP is called. Any problem in the institute? Immediately the VP is called, if he's not there, then immediately seniors from his hall/pact are called. And the other pact does not suffer, often, the UG rep is chosen from the other pact in order to keep things level. The system works.

      Your independent candidate will be accountable to no one, not even the TSA. Take it from a guy who has been a HCM, who has seen how people evade responsibility, and who has seen sweet-talkers and the tremendous influence of oratory.

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      *persons who suggested his name

      *not even TSA's readers.

    • Kumar Ritwik says:

      Achyut Bihani I don't know on how many levels should I answer you argument.
      "one of the most frustrated rants I have heard from our dear Presi is against incompetent G.Sec candidates" – Well the presi himself is largely incompetent .. I don't care to take his remark seriously. The problem with GSecs is that they are more bothered about the fest. In that respect they are not incompetent. Things are different when looking at GC. But the fest will always be their priority. Have separate GSecs for GC, I am totally in for that. But this is has nothing to do with the pacts. In my 4 years at KGp (discounting the 1st yr), I have seen 8 GSecs (talking SocCult only), some better than the others. But the overall rating is the same 3.5/5. It does not matter what they belong to. In the end they are SF/KTJ buddies and will remain so.

      Just to add, you have independent candis for secy elections. How is one of them any different from the other. [Don't focus your reply to this point alone.]

      Coming to the VP – A lot, and I mean a lot of people vote anti-pact when there is a discernible difference between the candidates. I can tell you names and cases on gtalk if you are interested to know. But please let's not pretend that 3rd Years and above are really bound by the pact. I could tell you who has voted out of pact and how many times , but that would not be fair of me either. There are two cases when people vote within the pact – first years, (and to some extent 2nd), again primarily because they do not know what in god's name is going on. I am actually inclined to say that 1st Years should not have voting rights (except for Secy elections). 2nd case, "Seniors" vote by pact when they do not see one candidate being different from the others. And that's my point. They really are not.

      The process of selection. It's pretty simple most of the time – SF/KTJ performance gets the post. Why only look at SF/KTJ, well there was some aberration not so long ago, which we all remember, but I guess things have gone back to normal. That is a good debate and I am all up for it (but I guess you will agree with me on that one). But even if one were to have a non SF/KTJ candi, the pact would still be there and I don't see anything wrong with it.

      Now, the IITB election model. Ideally, I should wait to see what that guy writes, and then comment. But me being me, I will give a teaser. IITB is not KGP. The dynamics there are much different. Our fests are not comparable to theirs and their Inter-Halls are not comparable of ours. That needs to be borne in mind.

      And finally, and I mean this is in a good way based on the people I was acquainted with, I have always felt that when it comes to things like GC and election, ScholsAve talks of sweeping changes staying on the outside. Things could have changed in the last couple of years, but I highly doubt. For eg, in the GC, most TSA guys just play their part in their events, which is very good in its own way, but that is not the end of it. Would it be nice if everyone was like that, maybe/maybe not. But as things are right now, while its nice to have an altruistic opinion once in a while, the ground reality does not always align with that.

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      Thanks for providing an (idealistic) HCM's point of view. I am not saying that the pact system CAN be replaced. It's informal, and the powerlust ensures that it WILL continue. I only bemoan the assumptions of Hall as an identity superior to the capability of an individual. I have never seen this feedback-improvement mechanism inside a hall that you speak of. But maybe it exists. Even if it does, the system is still deeply flawed and undemocratic.

      I feel that it's not a Hall President's job to tell me who a VP can or can't be, much less that of a G.Sec (Mess). That's all I am saying.

      And please, stop all the bullying. :)

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      Kumar Ritwik And the ground reality is that there's no other alternative to the pact system?

    • Kumar Ritwik says:

      Achyut Bihani "I feel that it's not a Hall President's job to tell me who a VP can or can't be" – and that is still the point. You do have a free choice. The elections are fair with a secret ballot and everything (the counting perhaps not so much :P).
      and the ground reality is, pacts are they are, are not undemocratic, which is what you are bemoaning. The pacts are like a party whip for an MP. At least in case of an MP there are consequences for not following the whip; in a pact there are none. You are free to choose.

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Achyut Bihani As Kumar Ritwik says, it is still a free ballot. 3rd, 4th, 5th years still vote however they want. Pact system is mainly for the 1st and 2nd years. You want to set them free? It will do no good, they won't go to watch the VP soapbox, and if they do, they don't have enough experience to judge who is bluffing and who is not. I myself have changed SO MUCH from my first year, I can't describe how gullible and blind I was then. Am at least slightly brighter now.

      As for the system being undemocratic, here's a secret – democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be. Giving people full power is something that is never a good idea, because most people don't know what's good for themselves. I know, I hate the idea of being controlled myself, I don't want my govt. tracking me, but in the end, it is the ground truth that people don't know what they want. If you have a benevolent government, you'll be lucky. If not, you'll be living in India.

      You want independent candidates? 3 candidates A, B, C with 30, 30, 40 votes. C should be the president when 60% of the voters did not want him? This is what is wrong with India and multipartite democracy.

      I still hold my stand that the pact system is better than any other alternative that has been suggested so far.

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Also, dude, no bullying going on here :)

      Just a rather passionate discussion, if you will. I don't have any vested interests, I'm out of here. I don't even know if I'll vote this sem. Besides, no matter how much someone tells you who to vote for, again, it's finally your choice. It's up to the voter to make an informed decision, and if he doesn't want to do that, he may as well vote for his pact. I agree with the last two sentences of the article.

      We have seen an independent standing for VP. I will not elaborate further, but I'm glad that the opposite pact won, rather than that independent winning.

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      From not even giving them a vote to saying that they don't know how to vote, I think you and Kumar Ritwik are being a little condescending here. Never mind that most of them are legally eligible to vote for the country's leaders.

      If that is the case, perhaps we should have a VP nominated by Hall Presidents, since elections have no meaning. No Soapboxes, campaigning and all that unnecessary brainwashing the first years.

      I didn't mean bullying here, god no. You two are the pleasantest defenders of the Pact System I can find. I meant the bullying that goes on on a daily basis courtesy pacts.

      And atleast we agree that people should not vote according to pacts but according to their own free will. Alongside pointing out the flaws of the pact system, that was my other major aim. I am glad you agree.

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Achyut Bihani Let's make this clearer… If you want to exercise your free will, well and good – no one is stopping you, as Kumar Ritwik said. What does the pact system essentially do?

      a) It reduces the number of candidates to two. Not a bad thing in my opinion.
      b) It ensures that the candidates who are standing are reasonably equal matched, and their calibers are verified. No pact will field a candidate with fake achievements against the other pact. The seniors are there to see what work has been done by which fellow, and whether they really deserve being a VP or not. You won't get false achievers.

      And when you say that 18 year olds can vote, what should noted is that they're supposed to have spent at least the last 5 years of their life reading the papers, watching the TV, judging Indian politics, so that they can know India's requirements and which political party is govt-forming material. That doesn't really happen, instead they're on FB and mobiles and iPads and on fast bikes, but that is what is supposed to happen, so it is allowed.

      When you come to KGP, the same rule must apply. They must know what's wrong with the insti before voting. First-years at least must not be allowed to vote.

      Elections do have a meaning. If you go listen to the soapbox, then no matter what someone tells you, you care enough to vote for the right candi. If you didn't go to the soapbox, and you didn't take feedback from someone who went, then you don't care, so you either don't vote, or you vote for your pact.

      I don't understand still why the pact system is a bad thing, all it does is ensure that the candidates are bonafide. Encourage going to the soapbox, don't encourage standing of independent candis – I'm telling you, in my experience, things are going to get hella complicated.

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      Arkaprava Dan
      So basically what you’re saying is that the pact system ensures that a limited number of candidates (and good ones) are put up. I agree that there shouldn’t be 5 VP candidates, but why is the Pact System the best way to ensure limited number? I’ll tell you why it’s a particularly pernicious way.

      1. It’s non-transparent on many levels. The average student has no information and no say in which hall goes into which pact, and which hall gets which candidates. Similarly opaque is the selection of candidates within halls. A select bunch of people, ostensibly selected to oversee student welfare, take it into their own hands to decide who is fit to represent the entire student community at large. There is no consultation whatsoever with the hall populace. Oh, and anyone who disagrees with their whims and decides to stand independently is viciously threatened and bullied. Which is why so many people don’t bother. The common refrain is ‘kaun is gandagi mein padega’ and not ‘oh I trust the happa to make the right choice’

      2. How is Hall even a representative unit of the institute? In cases like IIT Guwahati, it is transparent in the sense that people know that hall representatives are going to nominate institute-level postholders. Not the case in our IIT, where there IS universal suffrage. And for what it’s worth, Hall allotment is arbitrary, and halls don’t represent ideologies – points already made in the editorial.

      3. No matter how ideally you put the ‘free will’ point – the fact remains that the desire to eliminate free will is the basis of formation of pacts. First years are forced to run around for publicity work, and brainwashed to vote for pact candidates. A similar sense of false pride is fed into all minds ranging from first to fifth years, and that is when you have otherwise brilliant batchmates coming up to you and saying “Jo bhi candidate achcha ho yaar, vote toh pact ko hi karenge” The first two metrics that determine a pact’s strength are the total number of residents and total number of first years. That says a lot, don’t you think?

      4. A LOT of the decisions made by the pact-friendly kingmakers are based on personal vendettas, friendships and lobbying skills. This includes post division, candidate selection and alliance formation. Here I depart from personal experience, of course, and rely on observation and discreetly whispered accounts of pact meetings (stories of the dirtiest politics sometimes narrated with pride). How is such a deeply rotten system representative of an intelligent, unbiased, rational Kgpian?

      As I have pointed out, there’s no point debating its existence, because as of today, pacts are here to stay. All I am saying is that they should be looked upon because they’re morally unjustifiable.

      I am appalled by your point about not giving voting rights to first years. If any group of people on campus is unbiased, it’s MMM first years. Suddenly they find all these candidates coming up to them and trying to woo them over, that’s when they decide to judge everyone on their merit (because, you see, idealism still runs high when you’re a fachcha). Why don’t they get a say on who runs the institute in their (arguably most important) second year? Even fifth years are guilty of not knowing enough of the insti and getting swayed by sweet talk. In fact, elections give first years the opportunity, for the first time, to feel included in the administrative process at Kgp. Not giving them voting rights is like denouncing them as second-class citizens, and since you were a fachcha at MMM, I’d just like you to think back to that time and imagine how insulted you’d be if you were told that everyone but first years can vote.

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      Forgive the grammatical errors, please.

    • Kumar Ritwik says:

      Achyut Bihani On the pact thing, I don't want to get into a long lecture again. But the HPs selecting candis is akin to MPs selecting Presidential candidates. There is nothing undemocratic about it. And Yes halls do represent ideologies to a large extent (or at least they used to), the fact that the ideology has been brainwashed into you does not discount that.
      Now, about the first years having voting rights, their idealism runs high, no doubt. But their knowledge is low. On what merit do they judge candidates? eloquence? On what merit did you vote for VP? Candis come with an army of supporters, each more eloquent than the other and the only thing you vote on which impressed you the most. First years do not attend soapboxes and if even if they were to, it would make hardly any sense.
      As for 5th years being out of touch. They might be out of touch, but they have a much greater understanding. Hell, I have been away from campus for close to 2 years. But if you tell me an incident, I can make equal (if not more) sense out of it than a 1st/2nd year (yes, I am being smug, but that's beside the point).

  2. Kumar Ritwik says:

    yaar har saal yeh pact vs non-pact debate kyun shuru ho jata hai.
    Do you really think everyone in the hall actually votes according to the pact, at least as far as the VP election is concerned. If you do, I request thee.. Wake Up and smell the coffee.
    As for the G.Secs., they are two trivial to be cared about.

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Another very good point. At least among 3rd and 4th years, pacts pretty much don't matter, they vote for whoever's their friend, irrespective of whether they're actually good or not.

    • hahaha! mast bole ho! wahi same old shuru! :P

    • Kumar Ritwik says:

      Arkaprava Dan and the 5th years vote for the deserving candidate :P

    • Arkaprava Dan says:

      Kumar Ritwik Fifth-years vote if there is no line in the common room voting area :P

    • Avinash Kumar Agrawal says:

      Kumar Ritwik Fifth years vote anti-pact because they are pissed of that they have to come down to vote rather than the booth itself being brought to their room :P

    • Achyut Bihani says:

      You are right, Ritwik, everyone in the hall doesn’t vote for Pact. Thank god for that. But there are atleast some seniors who feel that there is some sense of loyalty and Hall Pride associated with ensuring that the pact (or atleast the hall) wins. So while they’ll acknowledge in principle that some other candidate might be better (if they care to go beyond directing hooting and heckling during the Soapbox, that is), they’ll vote for the one their hall has fielded. And these seniors are the one who try to get first years who don’t even understand the system completely to trivialize their votes.

      A major problem, as the article points out, is that these candidates are “selected” via very opaque and questionable selection processes. And then the whole of Kgp is left with no choice but to vote for the candidates at hand. It only takes sheer will to the point of quasi-madness to be an independent candidate and you know it. And as far as how trivial the G.Sec posts are, one of the most frustrated rants I have heard from our dear Presi is against incompetent G.Sec candidates (if not elects). For more, check out my reply to Arka’s post.

    • Ajit Khabya says:

      Kumar Ritwik deserving Candidate!!!!!!!! I know what you were doing while siting in the panel of the legendary VP SOP Box….

    • Sathya Teja says:

      If everyone in the hall does nt vote according to the pact, y do we even need pact system in the first place

  3. Pranesh Chaudhary says:

    A very poorly written article – I know I am being lazy by not giving my reasons for this contempt for the writer but these kind of articles have a place in personal blogs not in the Campus Newspaper.

    • I have been lazier by not even reading the full article but I dont think just because Scholar's Avenue is the "Campus Newspaper" (what does that mean to you though?) it should give up a perspective if it does not match the administration's or whoever's?
      I mean, I am sorry, I don't even yet know what your problem with the article is. Are you saying poorly written articles should go to personal blogs or are you saying well-meaning, not-badly-written-, opinionated, lets-change-the-world-difficult-as-it-may-be articles should go to personal blogs?

    • Pranesh Chaudhary says:

      The 1st one – poorly written articles should go to personal blogs. It's not that it does not match my or administration's or general poltu people's perspectives, it is an ill-researched, ill-informed article with a very wrong notion of idealism sprinkled in between. I don't have issues with well meaning articles but I dont like that in the garb of meaning well, the writer doesn't bother to check the reality or rather just doesn't know the reality and still gets to write an editorial (meaning the entire newspaper team was ill-informed and not just the writer)…

    • Pranesh Chaudhary says:

      i wont be replying to further comments..so people, read the article, comment but don't expect replies…thank you all :D

    • I just read the editorial. Pranesh, I think I agree with you. Although I have a habit of never criticizing any article,in this case, I personally am of the opinion that the tone is the major irritant which makes this article more appropriate for a personal blog rather an editorial by the news team. I would also be ready to accept the piece in print if it was presented as a guest editorial written by a third party. However, a piece where the reader is getting the impression that the editor of the paper is doing the writing, it is, IMO, a big no no. Nearly all the editorials coming directly from the paper admins/editors in all newspapers/magazines give a certain room for user discretion and are a little on the fence kind of a things. This article has too many assumptions which are being presented as facts. For example, let me show an excerpt from the article-" How are candidates selected inside a particular hall? It’s a process with zero transparency, where charisma, popularity and achievements are considered, but equally important is the aspirant’s rapport with influential seniors." I can always claim that this is writer's imagination and is not true. In fact, personally , I agree to the excerpt I just showed. But,whenever there is a possibility of such claims, the writer should avoid a " I know all" tone which this article is reeking of. In such a scenario, an alternative tone needs to be adopted for better acceptance among, and inviting less criticism from, the readers. Also, after the mega-bashing of the pact system, the suggestion for an alternative system should be roughly as intense as the bashing which is definitely not the case here. Please do keep in mind that I am talking of an editorial by a neutral, rational newspaper. The article would be fine for other platforms. Just because the topic of the article is a well meaning one, doesn't mean that the article deserves printing. I have a lot of things to say but, like Pranesh, am too lazy to type. :D This article reminds of an OP blog by someone which had gone viral when I was in my 2nd year. Should not have gone to print in this form is what I feel. And this is very important. All of this is my personal opinion and just that. People are welcome to disagree or whatever response they deem is appropriate. I value their viewpoints immensely. Reiterating, this viewpoint is just mine. Cheers!

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