There is a general perception that India’s electoral history begins with the Constitution of India, promulgated on January 26, 1950. The Constituent Assembly sat for over two years and gifted to the nation what is regarded as one of the greatest constitutions of the world. But very few know that the seeds for this were sown at least three decades before. The conflicts and struggles of the 30 momentous years were no less exciting. Raja Sekhar Vundru, an Ambedkar scholar, has tried to capture all that excitement, often not very pleasant, in his new book, Ambedkar, Gandhi and Patel: The Making of India’s Electoral System.
While Ambedkar is universally acknowledged as the father of the Constitution, since he was the chairman of the drafting committee, not many know that he was extremely unhappy throughout the drafting process and even after its promulgation, as he was denied what he wanted for the empowerment of the ‘Untouchables’. Vundru captures in graphic detail the three decades of this struggle, with Gandhi and Patel constantly playing spoilsport for his scheme of things.