(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA
Topic: Indian Party System towards Coalition Governance: Need
for Introspection R.K. Poonia, P.S. Malik and Saroj Malik
Major Problem Areas of Coalition Government: Political Instability
The single greatest problem plaguing Indian polity for
adecade is political instability in 14 years after Indira Gandhi’s
assassination. India has had seven Prime Ministers. However, the Vajpayee
Government in its third chance almost completed full term. But all earlier
coalitions have been fragile enjoying low longevity. In coalition politics such
a government always suffers from a survival instinct. It is just pursuing one
point agenda; to somehow remain in power. In such a situation good governance
inevitably becomes impossible. This is a highly worrying aspect in the present
phase of governance. Regional parties supporting government are more interested
in their local agenda than the national issues. These unstable governments
result in inefficient governance which harms the developmental need of the
country in a big way. A poor country struggling for faster development, can
hardly afford costly premature elections. The last Lok Sabha election cost the
exchequer more than 5,000 crore and many times more that amount was spent by
political parties and individuals. All this money ultimately comes from people’s
pocket in the form of tax and price rise.
Typical Irresponsible Opposition
Extreme pluralism results in unprincipled coalition, it lacks
a significant responsible opposition or even a typically irresponsible
opposition. An opposition is likely to behave in a responsible and constructive
manner if it expects that it may have to respond what it has promised.
An opposition is likely to be less responsible the less it
expects to govern. Polarised Pluralism results in politics of out bidding, or of
over promising which is very different from what is meaningfully called
competitive politics. Competitive politics is conditioned by a minimum of fair
competition below which a political player can hardly perform. If a party can
always light heartedly promise heaven on earth without ever having to respond
to, what it promises, this behaviour surely falls below any standard of fair
competition. This variety of multi-partism is an unhealthy state of affairs for
the body politic. A political system characterised by, centrifugal forces,
responsible opposition and unfair competition is hardly a viable system.
Immoderate politics is conducive either to sheer paralysis or to a disorderly
sequence of ill-calculated reforms that end in failure. Greater the number of
parties greater the intricacy of the system. In India a leader can split a Party
to, merge a group and support a party without making the slight impact the
public opinion. Due to all these political trends in contemporary party system
in India, capacity of political parties to harmonies social conflict, and
produce collective interest is deteriorating gradually and they are unable to
cope with people’s wishes and aspirations.
Increasing Number of Criminals in Policies
In the early years of Parliamentary democracy, politics was
considered a passion entailing sacrifice and suffering. With tile deterioration
of the system, criminals have been fielded in elections by almost all parties.
Increasing incidence of poll related violence speaks of the ground realities of
our parties. All political parties began more or less mobilizing such
anti-social elements to win the election. Earlier the criminals preferred acting
in the background and were content to support the politicians. Now, they declare
before national media that they would go to any extent to support their masters.
The nexus between crime and politics is well entrenched now. The country-side is
brimming with gun carrying criminals, trotting as politicians. No surprise in
the eleventh Lok Sabha, at least 40 MPs had confirmed criminal records.
According to the Election Commission record, 1,500 crime tainted candidates
contested in 1996 elections. The picture in State assemblies is more gloomy.
Proliferation of Parties
Coalition politics is associated with proliferation of
political parties in India. India has seven national, 33 state level and 612
registered unrecognised parties. Vajpayee headed 24 parties coalition at Centre.
Among the easiest accomplishments in India is to form a political party, the
moment a politician discovers that his self-interest is not being served, he
quickly floats a new outfit, taking full advantage of the caste, lobbies and
other parochial affiliations. Even a party having one seat in the Lok Sabha is
seen to claim a ministership in a coalition government. Recently all five
independents were given ministerial positions in Jharkhand where government
formation was not possible without the support of independents. With a plethora
of parties in existence and their ever shifting alliances and loyalties it is
not likely to ensure true governance. In the present scenario regional parties,
factions and independents all play a major role in forming governments.
Political game of horse trading/bargaining breaks all limits. The political
tragedies in Goa, Jharkhand and Bihar assemblies are eye opener for all. It is
not considered a healthy trend for Indian politics. A developing nation cannot
afford such a trend for long time as it severely effects good governance. The
present political behaviour is deeply characterised by cynical opportunism,
unprincipled toppling games, pursuit of power, etc. Many political parties in
India cease to be parties in the real sense. These are indeed political groups
headed by ambitious individuals who have gained power through political
maneuverability. There is a crisis of character and values. Among the most
disturbing feature of Indian democracy is the rapidly decaying system of
political parties. The highly deplorable fall in the caliber and standard of the
politicians apart, the political parties themselves are showing signs of gross
indiscipline and a lack of proper and effective organisational set up. What is
even more unfortunate, these parties are breaking apart through factionalism
splits and groupism. Had the break up and the consequent proliferation or
political parties been on the basis of principles anti programmes there would
not have been much to deplore. Selfish leadership and blind followers facilitate
the formation of parties/groups and these may indulge in blackmail or otherwise
start bargaining for certain ends.