Limiting the number of terms

I read somewhere that the US president does little bold work during his first term as his sole intention at that point of time is to get re-elected. In his second term, however, he tends to take more risks and make bold decisions, for he knows that he can never be re-elected.

I was wondering what would be the consequences if we limited the number of terms for chief ministers and prime ministers in India to two. And this limit will stay irrespective of the lengths of the government. So irrespective of whether you’ve been CM for five days or five years, you’ve exhausted one of your chances, and you have one more.

In order to be fair to people who have been in power for a number of terms now, we can say something like their current term is counted as their first in this regard, and hence they have only one more turn left at leading their respective governments. However, there is no limit on the number of terms they can work as a normal representative.

One fallout of this – I think – is horse trading and formation of minority governments will come down. If you want to form a government that may not run it’s full term, a number of leaders may not want to lead it for the fear that one of their turns will get over very quickly. There will also be less of this tamasha that usually happens where central leadership keeps changing the chief minister to suit its whims. I don’t know how much of the ‘bold decisions’ will get taken for even if the chief minister can’t be elected again, most people in his cabinet will be hoping to become CM the next time round and will want to keep electoral chances in mind.

However, the problem is in bringing in this rule. Looking at the number of parties that have a “supreme leader” ideology, it is hard to see any of them supporting this kind of a rule – for that might go on to clip the wings of their supreme leader and so on. Of course – they too can work around this by institutionalizing the concept of O Panneerselvam. However, it’s unlikely any non-cadre based parties (= left and BJP) is going to support this kind of a thing.

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