Coalitions are the inevitable creation of new political disbursement, as regional parties accrue more and more support, larger parties, with dwindling vote banks, are forced to form alliances to secure office. Modern Democracy and its politics are challenged with Alliance Politics in India. Political alliances create a great deal of suspense and interest. One feels, the formation of alliances will take the shape of Indian Premier League (IPL) team formation. That is, financially sound political parties can form a formidable team/alliance and emerge victorious. Vitamin M (money) will play an unprecedented role in the 2014 elections. The notion of Coalition Politics draws its roots from the times when sparring states sometimes used to ally with each other in order to defeat a common enemy. All small time parties get together with one common agenda to defeat the strongest party they contest against.
India got a taste of Coalition Politics at the state level when the Left Front comprising of Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI (Marxist) and others formed the first ever Coalition Government in India in West Bengal with Jyoti Basu as the Chief Minister (succeeded by Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee). At the national level, the first ever coalition government was formed under the Prime Ministership of Late Shri Morarji Desai which existed from 24th March 1977 to 15th July 1979 headed by now an insignificant Janata Party. Since 1996, Indian Politics has been dominated with Coalition Governments which by far have been stable after a shaky start. Manmohan Singh is heading a coalition Government of 15 parties called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with Sonia Gandhi, as its Chairperson. Post 1970s emergency, one saw the emergence of Janata Party and the weakening of the Indian National Congress, which once was the undefeatable Political Party in India. Also the breaking up of the National Parties saw a resurgence of regional parties which started dominating the state-level politics.
When Vajpayee couldn’t sustain the Government in 1996 due to lack of Majority (i.e. 272+ seats) in the Indian Parliament after being just 13 days old, the Third Front (a group of regional parties and Non-Congress and Non-BJP combine also referred to as the United Front) formed the Government headed by Mr. H. D. Deve Gowda, who was in office from 1st June 1996 to 21st April 1997. The Congress Party and other smaller parties including the left provided outside support to him in order to provide a stable Government and prevent snap-polls. After 1990, no single largest party even won with utmost majority in India. The rise of regional parties – representing India’s diverse caste, class, and ethnic groups – has robbed the country’s biggest political formations, the Congress and BJP, of much of their support. Coalitions, of course, come with many challenges. The insecurity of coalitions was made clear last year when the Trinamool Congress, a junior coalition partner in the national government, withdrew its support over economic reforms. The defection threatened to tip the Congress-led UPA coalition into a minority, and only with the support of two other regional parties did the government survive. The UPA coalition, which has governed since 2004, has been hounded by allegations of corruption and maladministration.
Coalition has its own challenges because you cannot keep everyone happy. Look at BJP, after an alliance with Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, Senior Bihar BJP leaders are said to be unhappy with the party’s tie-up. They all skipped the rally in Muzaffarpur, Bihar where Modi shared the dais with Ram Vilas Paswan who returned to the NDA fold after a long gap of 12 years.
On the other side, many Congress leaders are not in favour of an alliance with JD(U) in Bihar, because they think Nitish’s JD(U) with not leave more than 10 seats out of 40 for Congress. Lalu Yadav said he has offered 11 seats to Congress and one seat to NCP. Political parties exist only because they cannot afford to have any principles. Till yesterday, Mr. Nitish was part of BJP alliance, probably for 17 years. There is a Modi wave in the country, that’s why some regional parties joined hands with BJP and broke their alliance with UPA. Nitish Kumar has taken a dig at Ramvilas Paswan saying that whatever suits him as per circumstances, Paswan does it. That is precisely what every politician is doing. If this time-tested ‘principle’ had not been all along followed, most of the politicians would not have been in politics. We will be having more of this medicine in the months ahead and in stiffer doses after the elections in which Nitish Kumar will also be a player. Besides, there are reports that Congress may go with JD(U), ditching Lalu to go solo. In any case, NDA is expected to sweep Bihar winning majority of seats. No wonder, states like Bihar and UP are lacking in infrastructure and development and they are backward. When these states are ruled by Lalu, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam, Akhilesh Yadav and BSP’s Mayawati, there is no prospect that anything will change. Strange things are happening. Soon after coming out from jail, Lalu went to Sonia and said he regretted the alliance break last time and he would definitely align with her this time. Every event is pointing towards the win of BJP. Let us wait and watch!