Monday, November 19, 2012

Coalition Politics


  1. What is Coalition Politics?
  2. When Coalition govts. Form?
  3. Two types of Coalition Alliance:
  4. Merits and Demerits of Coalition Government?
  5. What are the merits of Coalition Government?
  6. What are the demerits of Coalition Government?
  7. Ideal coalition?

What is Coalition Politics?

  • The english word “Coalition” Comes from Latin word Coalito = “ Grow together”
  • Started in India even before Indepndence in 1937 when Jinnah’s Muslim League +INC in state of UP.
  • At state level coalition start in later half of 60’s when many state were having non congress govt. called as “ First Democratic Upsurge “ by Yogendra Yadav.
  • At National level after Indira Gandhi dictatorship in emergency period all congress opposition parties came together under leadership of Morarji Desai under the name of Janta Party in 1977 = 2nd Democratic upsurge of India.
  • After that V.P.Singh(National Front) —-> I.K. gujral but all short lived.
  • Then came NDA(National Democratic Alliance) having more than 20 parties under Vajpayee.
  • Later UPA-1 & UPA-2.

When do Coalition govts. Form?

  • When no political party has won a majority in Lok Sabha at national and legislative assembly at state level.
  • In case of India Congress was attached to freedom struggle and earlier politicians were like statesman or freedom fighters so successful for some decades…but after that increasing regional aspirations, ambitions of varied  sections of Indian Society with distinct form of caste-ism and religionism  and increasing role of money and muscle power in politics gave rise to coalition politics in India.

Two types of Coalition Alliance:

Pre-Poll AlliancePost- poll alliance
Different parties came having same ideology or common enemy ( can be easily seen in India) with a common pre poll manifesto and fight elections, early understanding between seat distribution and all political promises. E.g.  JDU + BJP in Bihar.Generally seen after election to share political and executive power…Mostly   seen as a form of opportunism to pursue own interest.

Merits and Demerits of Coalition Government?

What are the merits of Coalition Government?

  1. Greater Democracy , involvement of large spectrum of people = popular voice.
  2. In Policy formulation, extensive debate so large scrutinizing of policies. E.g. Nuclear Safety Bill, FDI and many more….
  3. Representatives from varied section so pooling of various ideas leading to Political and societal innovation ( Though I haven’t seen).
  4. Monopoly of one party of various  issues reduced decreasing its vested interest acting like a political check  by various other parties.
  5. More federal type of arrangement can be seen diluting unitary type of power structure.
  6. Small parties gets necessary administrative and policy skills.
  7. Moving towards maturity in political system as mostly  issues to be handled by Consensus.
  8. Weapon of last resort in political system in hung parliament like Julia Gilliard’s in Australia.
  9. Less chances of dictatorship like Indira Gandhi as there will be coalition terms and compulsions.
  10. Suitable for heterogenous  country like India which consist of different sects, classes and castes.

What are the demerits of Coalition Government?

  1. A govt. which is under survival mode can’t take tough decisions.
  2. Regional goals predominates over National Goals. (especially @Railway budget)
  3. International relations comes under strain because have to involve coalition partners from state. ( “Didi” had refused to go with PM and other state CM’s to Bangladesh and as a result Teesta issue is still hanging , Tamilnadu factor in Tamil & LTTE issues with Sri Lanka).
  4. PM  looses its power to choose his council of ministers, have to give important portfolios to members of coalition partners. ( Railway dept. Controversy  with Didi )
  5. Sometimes portfolios are awarded to coalition partners despite having lack of administrative and political skill only under coalition compulsion.
  6. Less executive power with PM/CM can’t even take important policy decisions like subsidy , FDI.
  7. Policy logjam because of various ideologies.
  8. Hinder geopolitical aspiration, India demanding permanent seat in UNSC and what would International community having perception about India that it is still incompetent to organise things even in its own backyard, what would it do in global scenario.
  9. Zone of unaccountability + blame game, failure of policies blamed on coalition situation (which UPA govt is doing: 2g scam).
  10. Politics of opportunism, E.g. Madhu Koda being an independent became CM and came out with a big scam.
  11. Disparity among various states, states and parties with more number gets dominance in grants, aids and various issues when compared to small states. E.g. UP as compared to Sikkim.
  12. Weak, fragile and instability in govt. breakaway tendencies when their interest in not fulfilled. (Mamta came out of UPA-2)

Ideal Coalition?

  1. Despite all odd and evens Coalition govt is inevitable in Indian situation, we can’t avoid only improve, sowhat can be done:
  2. More Pre – Poll kind of alliance = more transparency and accountability and less post poll type of opportunism.
  3. Portfolios awarding to competent persons.
  4. National interest should prevail over regional.
  5. PM should be like a leader can keep fragmented politics together.
  6. Maturity should be shown by political parties towards nation building and growth of nation.
  7. Parties should put a Common Minimum Programme ahead of their different ideologies.
  8. Coalition partners having common and clear manifesto so responsibility and accountability can be ensured.

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