Coalition Governments in States
The term coalition is derived from the Latin word ‘coalition’ meaning to go or grow together. Thus it means an act of coalescing or uniting into one body or alliance. It indicates the combination of a number of bodies or parts into one body or whole. In the political sense it is used to indicate an alliance or temporary union between various political groups for the exercise or control of political power. Thus, it can be said that result of the exigencies of competitive multi-party system in a parliamentary democracy is coalition. It is a phenomenon where more than two political parties come together to form a government , sinking their basic ideological differences in the event of the inability of any single party to command a workable majority in the lower House of the legislature.
In India, the formation of coalition governments at the centre started with Morarji Desai’s regime, though at the state level, these had started functioning from 1967. At the centre, coalition ministries have been formed seven times between 1977 and April 1999.
Kerala was the first among Indianprovinces to have witnessed acoalition government in post independence era. First general election for legislative assembly was held in 1952. The Congress formed acoalition government in the statealong with Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress in March 1952.
The states of India with coalition Government are Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Nagaland, Maharashtra, and Puducherry. In 2015, alliance of two main parties BJP and PDP formed a coalition government in J&K. The coalition govt could not hold the command on the state for long and hence BJP pulled out their alliance on 20 June, 2018.
In 2018 general elections, a coalition government of Congress and JD(S) came into power in Karnataka.
In 2016, the alliance of INC and DMK formed the coalition government in Puducherry. On 31 October 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena (SS) coalition formed the Government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra. In 2014, an alliance of BJP and JD(U) formed the government under the leadership of Mr. Nitish Kumar in Bihar. Democratic Alliance of Nagaland headed the Nagaland government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) (JDU). It is formed in 2003 after Nagaland Legislative Assembly election with Naga People’s Front (NPF) and BJP. The alliance is in power in Nagaland since 2003.
Generally coalitions are said to be formed on account of one of the following reasons:
- No single political party is able to secure a working majority in the popular house on account of the presence of multi-party system. Under these circumstances a number like-minded political parties form the coalition to provide a workable majority and run the government.
- In a Bi-party system a deadlock may be created due of even balance between two parties allying itself with a minor group such as neutral or defectors till the majority in its favour.
- A coalition may be necessitated by a national crisis when the various political groups may suspend their political strife and collaborate in the general cause of protecting and promoting their national interest.
Today, personal power and personal ambition have become the keywords in political vocabulary of the politicians. The public and the national interests have been replaced by personal and sectarian interests. This has disastrous consequences for the actual conduct of the polity.
The parties function not on the basis of ideological basis and programmatic commitments but on regional, communal and caste basis. In recent times, many leaders have left behind their ideological baggage in favour of what they describe as political pragmatism, but in reality these people are political opportunists in pursuit of power. The political maneuverers of some political parties which have made opportunism a virtue are glaring examples of politics without any commitment to idealism or ideology.
The opportunism motivated by personal ambition for power, has made political ideology a matter of convenience rather than of conviction. It reflects a serious pathology of our political life and total lack of idealism, which adversely affects the functioning of coalition governments.
Besides, frequent elections retard economic growth, increase fiscal deficit, adversely affect business confidence, plummet stocks, and raise the prices of commodities used by the common people. Political uncertainty hampers development and affects foreign relations. Experiments in the last three years in our country have also proved wrong the assumption that coalition ministries are more logical for federal polity. The spectre is of governmental instability, fragmented national politics, and policies on vital issue suffering from interruptions.