Democracy is not majorityism. Inclusiveness is the soul of democracy.

Kerala Congress(M) chairman and Finance Minister K.M. Mani has a clear view about the post-electoral mission of his party: it is to ensure that a democratic and secular government committed to dispensation of equal justice is put in place at the Centre. The ideal situation will be the return of the present dispensation to power but if there is a lack of majority for any one, then everyone will be searching for viable alternatives, he says. Excerpts from an interview:

Question: The Lok Sabha elections 2014 appear to have put immense pressure on smaller coalition partners in both the fronts, with most of them experiencing vertical split in their struggle for existence. Is the age of smaller political parties over?

Answer: It is mainly the result of a lack of ideology. Most of the smaller parties have placed their existence on temporary, seasonal or local issues, mostly emotional. When they lose this base, their existence will be under threat. You need an ideology that will cement the party structure that will in turn carry the ideology forward.

Q: But the Aam Aadmi Party has made it clear that it does not believe in ideology. And it has been a tremendous success so far.

A: It is only a temporary phenomenon. Its existence is basically an emotional one.

Q: The minorities are getting an increasing say in political affairs in Kerala. The current elections have witnessed a situation where both the coalitions are going out of their way to rope them in, in a big way.

A: The minorities enjoy the solidarity among themselves in a more concrete, solid manner. There is nothing wrong if the political parties reach out to them, because democracy is not majorityism. To be ideal, democracy must be inclusive and I would say inclusiveness is the soul of democracy.

Q: The run up to the elections also saw religious leaders, especially the Catholic hierarchy, directly dictating terms to politicians. Don’t you think this is a dangerous trend?

A: The Church does not exist exclusively in the spiritual realm alone. The all-round progress and liberation of the oppressed people is the mission and aim of the Church. I do not believe there is anything wrong with the Church participating in the political process.

Q: Regional parties are expected to play a major role in the post-poll scenario at the Centre. As one of the oldest regional parties in the country, the Kerala Congress (M) appears to be at a loss, with just one candidate to contest.

A: It is a hypothetical question.

The ideal situation will be if the current dispensation is returned to power. But in case no one gets the majority, then everyone will be searching for viable alternatives.

But in any case, we will not move away from our basic commitments i.e., democracy and secularism and also a system which will be committed to dispensation of equal justice to all.

The party stands for a major change in the Centre-State relations.

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