Online Courses (English)
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Indian Polity

Perils of Electoral Politics

  • 27 Nov 2019
  • 6 min read

This article is based on “Preventing political coalitions of convenience” which was published in The Hindu on 27/11/2019. It talks about the perils of electoral politics in case of a hung assembly.

The perils of electoral politics can be seen recently in the Maharashtra state assembly elections, where a pre-poll alliance had won the mandate, but due to disagreements over power-sharing, a new post-poll coalition is forming the government.

The situation where none of the parties is able to secure a majority in elections, such political manoeuvring by political parties becomes imminent. However, it demeans the aspirations of the people of the State.

Issues Involved

Demise of Democracy

  • Pre-poll alliances function as a single consolidated unit.
    • Political parties generally do not contest elections against each other. Also, their cadres and volunteers work for the coalition and not just their individual parties.
  • However, the voters, vote for a set agenda and political ideology on whose premise the edifice of both the party and the coalition rest.
  • Therefore, post-poll alliance (if it is different from the pre-poll alliance), leads to the betrayal of voters and demise of principles of democracy.

Horse-Trading

  • In the event of a hung assembly, political parties are involved in horse-trading.
    • It is a practice in which, in the event of a hung assembly, some members of one political party deliberately join another party or simply resign.
    • They do so by being attracted to the prospect of becoming part or favouring the government which may come to power or for monetary/ vested interests.
    • This amounts to defection under Anti-defection law (10th schedule). However, loopholes under the same law are exploited, to get away from proceedings under anti-defection law.

Role of Governor

  • The hung assembly also raises a serious question regarding the role of the Governor in government formation and the manner in which it should be exercised.
  • Constitutionally, it is the Governor’s discretion to select a Chief Minister and give him a chance to prove majority on the floor of the house.
  • Supreme Court, in SR Bommai case 1994, has given direction what the governor should do in such a situation, which is:
    • Governor has to invite the leader of the party commanding majority in the House or the single largest party/group to form the Government.
  • However, the words “largest party/group” is again ambiguous. The “group” may include a Post-poll alliance or Pre-poll alliance.

Way Forward

  • There is a need to check and limit such post-poll ‘alliances of convenience’, wherein, even parties with diametrically opposite election manifestos and promises come together to share power.
    • The Law Commission of India, in its 170th report on ‘Reform of the electoral laws, had opined that a ‘pre-election front/coalition’ of political parties should be treated as a ‘political party’ for the purposes of the anti-defection law.
  • The menace of horse-trading can be dealt with by strengthening anti-defection law.
  • The political parties and individual candidates should be mandated to disclose a list of ‘probable post-poll alliances’ under a legal framework drafted by Election Commission.
  • The menace of Horse-trading can be dealt with by strengthening Anti-defection law.
  • It is high time that the Sarkaria Commission (1983) report, which discusses the role of Governor in case of the hung assembly must be implemented.
    • It recommended, in case of a hung assembly, the Governor should select a Chief Minister from among the following parties or group of parties by sounding them, in turn, in the order of preference indicated below:
      • An alliance of parties that were formed prior to the elections.
      • The largest single party staking a claim to form a government with the support of others, including “independents.”
      • A post-electoral coalition of parties, with all the partners in the coalition joining the Government.
      • A post-electoral alliance of parties, with some of the parties in the alliance forming a Government and the remaining parties, including “independents” supporting the Government from outside.

Democracy cannot be restricted to the mere casting of votes and formation of government; it is also about the trust among the voters of an electorate that the mandate given by them must be reflected in the government formed after elections.

Drishti Mains Question

Post-poll alliance, if it is different from the pre-poll alliance, leads to the betrayal of voters and demise of democracy. Comment.

SMS Alerts
 

Please login or register to view note list

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close
 

Please login or register to make your note

close

Please login or register to list article as progressed

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close