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Dynamics of Coalition Politics in India Essay

The most crucial problem that Indian democracy faces today is the political instability at Central level and state levels. The instability mounted as no single party getting a clear cut majority in forming the government due to the fractured political opinion of the electorate and swindling of multi –party system. Coalition politics has become an essential feature of present day Indian democracy. Theorizing politics of coalition in a polity of India’s size, diversity, and complexity is difficult task.

Yet an attempt has been made in this study to make theoretical sense of Indian politics. The collapse of the national parties and mushroom growth of the regional political parties have forced India into the coalition mode. Due to the gradual decline of the congress dominance and presence of any viable alternative coalition building efforts has become inevitable. National Front 1989, the United Front of 1996, National Democratic Alliance of 1998, and the United Progressive Alliance of 2004 and 2009 were unavoidable and indispensable for the Indian democracy.

In Indian federal structure, states are performing as a unit of central government and deal with subjects having direct, immediate, and intimate impact on the fortunes of the citizens. Therefore the study also attempts to answer the question whether the coalition framework in the context of Indian politics is good or bad for the country. At one extreme, there is always “the pride about majority governments” and at the other extreme, “the prejudice against coalition politics”.

The balanced view, however, seems to have been the agreement that, “it should not be taken for granted that coalition governments, whether their type and stage of growth, are per se dysfunctional to nation building and effective administration, all the more because we are still travelling on the way to coalition making and there are several patterns of coalition politics in the country”. Hence, the question is not that “coalition governments are superior to majority governments or vice-versa”.

What is to be done instead is to have an “empirical enquiry into the dynamics of coalition politics to replace normative myths with realistic formulations in regard to the efficiency of coalitional experiments in India. “Till then we should not come to any conclusion whether coalition politics is good or bad, and that coalitional politics and political development”. Presently, the decision makers, administrators, political and social scientists, and the citizens at large have been paying big attention to coalition politics.

This attention has been arising due to political instability of the country because of the infighting among the coalition partners. Jayalalitha in 1998 and Giridhar Gamango in 1999 were responsible for the collapse of the coalition government at the centre. The country was forced to hold unwarranted elections. Both Jayalalitha and Gamango posed a great liability for the national exchequer. The citizens in general, are always in favour of a government who provides political stability.

However, politicians and legislators have almost lost their trustworthiness, in the eyes of the people, due to their failure in providing stable governments. But the politicians defend themselves by changing the responsibility to the fractured verdict of the voters at the hustings. but both the people and politicians are equally responsible for the political instability of the country or in any state. Politicians are more responsible for such a political situation, because they have yet to institutionalize the coalition politics on a sound basis at the national as well as state level.

Without giving true attention to this grave problem the politicians taking advantage of the hung parliament and hung state assemblies have resorted to unhealthy practices of horse-trading and floor crossing, in spite of the Tenth Schedule to the constitution of India. Therefore, institutionazing the coalition politics at the state and national level is the necessity of the day for political stability and development of the country. Definition of Coalition:- The term ‘coalition’ is derived from the Latin word ‘coalitio” which is The veral substantive of coalescere which means to grow together.

However, as actually used, it somewhat belies it nominal meaning, ‘for the units or the elements brought into combination by a coalition very seldom grow together in any leteral sense. According to the dictionary meaning coalition means an act of coalescing, or uniting into one body: a union of persons, states: alliance. In the strict Political sense the word coalition is used for ‘alliance or temporary union into a single government of distinct parties or members of distinct parties3 In other words, it – ‘commonly denotes a cooperative arrangement under which istinct political parties, or at all events members of such parties u ~ t to form a government or mini~try’~ What is political coalition or Political alliance? Political coalition or political alliance is an agreement for cooperation between different political parties on common political agenda, often for purposes of contesting an election to mutually benefit by collectively clearing election three holds or otherwise benefiting from characteristics of the voting system or for government formation after elections.

A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament. In such times, parties have formed all-party coalitions (national unity governments, grand coalitions). If a coalition collapses a confidence vote is held or a motion of no confidence is taken. Coalition politics: A Theoretical Framework:- In a federal system, the states are affected and in turn affect the national system.

While a proper understanding of the Indian political system depends to a very great extent on the assessment of political development in the states which are constituent units of the larger political system are conditioned by the nature of national politics. In appreciation of this mutual interacting role, the study of state government and politics is becoming popular. Coalition politics is another notable feature of the Indian party system, which affects both the centre and the state.

In spite of the fact that the subject of coalitions is not of recent origin, it has not entrenched itself as a part of the literature on political science especially with regard to a theoretical understanding of the concept. In India, the study of coalitions is of recent origin though the play a major role in the politics of India. Both the executive branch and the legislative branch of the government are run by the representatives of the political parties who have been elected through developments of the last two to Three decades have witnessed an upsurge in the writings on coalition politics.

The Encyclopedia of social science (1972) has made an attempt to give a technical meaning through social scientists like William H. Riker and William A. Gamson. In the opinion of William H. Riker “The word coalition has long been used in Ordinary English to refer to group of people who come together (usually on temporary basis) to attain some end. Typically, a coalition has been regarded as a parliamentary or political grouping less permanent than a party or faction or an interest group.

William A Gamson writes that, “coalition” to mean the joint use of resource is some weight such that some critical quantity of it in the control of two or more parties to the decision is both necessary and sufficient to determine its outcome. Participants will be said to be using their resources jointly only if they co-ordinate their deployment of resources with respect to some decision. As like any other democracy, political parties represent different sections among the Indian society and regions, and their core values the elections.

Through the electoral process, the people of India choose which majority in the lower house; a government can be formed by that party or the coalition. Hypothesis: Coalition government does definitely provide a good and prosperous option at centre to form a government in India. Coalitions in India are likely to be inherently unstable unless there is minimum programmatic compatibility. Coalition is complementary to democratic processes, articulated not only in the ritualistic participation of the people in an election, but also in there day-to –day participation in governmental activities.

In this fundamental sense, coalitions are unavoidable, and cannot be wished away as a mere ripple. Methodology: Descriptive and analytical methodology has been adopted. The study will be with a reference to the electoral politics of India mainly centred. Coalition politics in India: For most of the years since independence, the federal government has been led by the Indian national congress (INC), Politics in The states have been dominated by several national parties including the INC, the Bharatiya janatha party (BJP), the communist party of India(marxist) (CPI(M)) and various regional parties.

From 1950 to 1990, barring two brief periods, the INC enjoyed a parliamentary majority. The INC was out of power between 1977 and 1980, when the won the election owing to public discontent with the corruption of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1989, a Janata Dal-led National Front coalition in alliance with the Left Front coalition won the elections but managed to stay in power for only two years. As the 1991 elections gave no political party a majority, the INC formed a minority government under Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao and was able to complete its five-year term. The years 1996–1998 were a period of turmoil in the federal government with several short-lived alliances holding sway. The BJP formed a government briefly in 1996, followed by the United Front coalition that excluded both the BJP and the INC. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with several other parties and became the first non-Congress government to complete a full five-year term.

In the 2004 Indian elections, the INC won the largest number of Lok Sabha seats and formed a government with a coalition called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), supported by various parties and 15th Lok sabha election 2009 has produced another coalition government named as United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with congress as the largest member of the coalition. India has a multi-party system, where there are a number of national as well as regional parties. A regional party may gain a majority and rule a particular state. If a party represents more than 4 states then such parties are considered as national parties.

In the years since India’s independence, India has been ruled by the Indian National Congress (INC) for 48 of those years. The party enjoyed a parliamentary majority barring two brief periods during the 1970s and late 1980s. This rule was interrupted between 1977 to 1980, when the Janata Party coalition won the election owing to public discontent with the controversial state of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The Janata Dalwon elections in 1989, but its government managed to hold on to power for only two years.

Between 1996 and 1998, there was a period of political flux with the government being formed first by the right-wing nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) followed by a left-leaning United Front coalition. In 1998, the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance with smaller regional parties, and became the first non-INC and coalition government to complete a full five-year term. The 2004 Indian elections saw the INC winning the largest number of seats to form a government leading the United Progressive Alliance, and supported by left-parties and those opposed to the BJP. In 2009 once again UPA won the elections and formed a government.


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