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No political party can be erased in India, says Pranab Mukherjee

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No political party can be erased in the multi-party political system in India, former President Pranab Mukherjee said adding ups and downs are a part of the cycle.

In an interview to CNN-News 18, Mukherjee, in response to a question whether Congress is dead, said: “India has a multi-party political system and I believe no political party can be erased.”

“There may be difficulties, deficiencies, shortcomings, defeat of some political party at some point of time. But not only history in India, but history in other countries where there are parliamentary political system, ups and downs are everywhere. Down does not mean it is permanently down,” he said.

“I am telling you, a political party which had 98 members in the Lok Sabha in 1977, in 1984, they came down to two. And after 14 years, from 2, they form the government of India with the largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha at that point of time,” Mukherjee said, in a reference to the Bharatiya Jan Sangh and its later incarnation as the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“So, today’s opposition party can become the ruling party of tomorrow. Maybe distant tomorrow, may be immediate tomorrow, but nonetheless that possibility is always there. That is the beauty of the multi-party democratic system and that is the beauty of the Indian system. So I do not visualise a day when all political parties are going to be extinguished and only one political party remains. It is not possible in India,” he said.

Asked if he could see any new trends emerging in Indian politics, Mukherjee, who has had a career in politics spanning over six decades, said: “When you talk of the present, you will always have to keep in mind that present becomes past very soon. In the longer time frame of politics, you will find many changes taking place at almost a breakneck speed.

“So nobody should predict that a particular trend has been set and it is going to be permanent, and it is going to be settled. In multi-party democratic system, it is not possible. Change is the only constant factor and that change is always not positive. It may be negative, it may be positive, it may even be disruptive, but change is constant and change has continued.”