The Coalition Government
“For any coalition, the hidden enemies with the Government are more unpredictable than the outsiders. The trouble started even before the ship was to set sail and captain knew well that a rough voyage and hidden iceberg are ahead of him.”
The division of the society into several castes and creeds has led to the disorientation of the society. A splinters society could not rise against external aggression. In independent India the one-party dominance of the Congress led to misrule and encouraged corruption. In the absence of issue-based parties, caste-based parties emerged on the Indian scene. 1967 elections saw a highly fragmented opposition which could come to power forming coalition. But the leadership aspirations of these groups hindered the smooth running of the coalition. Coalitions in 1977, 1989, 1996 and 1998 failed because of selfish aspirations, leading to instability in the country. Coalitions should be made by parties having common ideology.
India is a land full of diversities. People in different states of the country have their own ways of life, their languages and political views. Every stated contributes a limited number of representatives to the Lok Sabha. This has led to a growth of regionalism in the country where every region thinks it must have a specific voice of its own in the parliament of the country. This has brought to the fore a number of regional political parties in different parts of the country. These regional parties have a special appeal for the peoples of their areas. They are thus able to send a sizeable chunk of their representatives to the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. As a consequence, no single party in the country is able to win an absolute majority in Lok Sabha. As soon as the elections are over, different parties with their respective strength start closed door meetings to form a group that constitutes a majority. This gives rise to a coalition government at the centre.
It appears that the chapter of a single party rule in India has become a matter of past. The most significant development in Indian political scene since 1996, has been the emergence of coalition era in Indian Politics. The present 14th Lok Sabha is also a coalition Government. Under cool and capable leadership of Mr. Manmohan Singh the Government has just assumed office. Some instance of putting unreasonable demands of coalition partner came in the beginning itself but oath were taken on 22nd May, 2004. A lot of wisdom, experience, tact’s, patience and compromise skills will be requisite to keep its ship sailing amidst all hazards, taking care of every passenger abroad until it reaches the destination of five years.
After initial hiccups coalitions are now less brittle than before and this is bringing in greater amount of political divergence in the process of governance. Several instance have revealed in the past that a multipolar political system (a coalition Government) has its own system of ‘Checks and Balances’ and there is no apparent logic of yearn desperately for a return to a bipolar polity.
The days of a single party bagging such a large number or seats as constitute an absolute majority, are gone. The era of coalition has come to stay as a reality. In such a situation, the coalition parties, having divergent views on various issues, have to agree to a common minimum programme acceptable to all the parties in the coalition. They have to steer clear of the controversial issues and agree to a common minimum in the interest of stability of the government. The country cannot afford elections every year.
Experience has now revealed that a coalition government can run as smoothly as any single party government. The only requirement is that the coalition partners have to stick to a code of conduct. Every coalition party has to own the responsibility for all government policies or actions. No partner is expected to air the views of a peculiar group in public. All differences must be referred to the coordinating group set up to co-ordinate and accommodate the view of the coalitions partners. No party or person in a coalition government must also perform as in the head of a family and respect the views of all the parties making up the coalition.
Emergence of caste-based politics has led to the emergence of a fractured verdict. By the electorate, politics has become a lucrative career and the refuge of under trials and criminals. Politicians, being unaccountable to the public, lack credibility. The ideologies of the political parties have been sacrificed in the quest for capturing power. With the gradual erosion of value based politics, politicians aim at achieving their ulterior motives. This is leading to the mushroom growth of political parties organized around individuals on caste lines and even religious lines. To pursue individual political opportunism these politicians dissociate themselves from the ideologies of the party and show there will be embrace any ideology. Lack of ideology, credibility and accountability, displayed by the politicians, and has made an average voter unaware of the difference between political parties. This has led to the fractured verdict of the masses. There is a dire need to look into the growing number of regional and caste-based parties in the country. Further, in a coalition the allies should stop making undue and unjustified demands. Coalition should be formed by parties having common ideology to offer stability in the country.
Despite all these problems, the coalition governments are doing well in the country, both at the state as well as at the national level. There is, however n6 denying the fact that single party government is always better than a coalition government.