TODAY -

Voters empowered democracy

Free Thinker *



Umpteen times I have been requesting everyone to empower our democracy by strengthening the opposition. Just before the election also a request was made to all and sundry including Modiji to strengthen the opposition.

There is no meaning for a liberal democracy when the powers that be start doing anything and everything without restraints. Finally, Modiji and our citizens have decided to have a vibrant democracy by strengthening the opposition. Ruling 293 Vs 236 Opp. (14 extras) will be interesting.

A strong opposition is much for a meaningful democracy. Someone has rightly said that this is a mandate for humility. A stronger opposition is significant for democracy.

When you have an overwhelming majority you tend to do so many things which are unwelcome. It moves towards absolute power and an absolute power tends to do undesirable and inequitable things. The second term of Modiji became slightly inclined towards that kind which was not conducive for a liberal democracy like ours.

Absolute and centralized power may be good for fast progress and development . But in such a system leniency and lethargy of democracy is lacking – which are the opium of the people.

I have counted the number of Assembly constituencies in Manipur where Congress got more votes than the BJP – in this 2024 Parliamentary election or Lok Sabha election. So, at present if the assembly election is held the Congress party or the opposition has a very strong chance of winning more than 40 seats out of 60. Saying so, I am not inviting mid-term polls.

There are leaders , who take responsibility or moral responsibility for the defeat or poor performance of their party in the polls. BJP leader Fadnavis of Maharashtra has offered to resign . But he was restrained by the Party leadership. Likewise Yogi ji was reluctant to come to Delhi for the NDA meeting because of NDA- BJP deficient performance in UP . He was perhaps asked by the top boss to come.

Number is less but the Exam passed – now they have to start working. It is not easy to run a coalition government. We have seen in Vajpayee time – how he managed the rag-tag coalition of many parties. Those days the convener of NDA was George Fernandes – he had to run from pillar to post to appease the partners in the government.

Sometimes he had to go to Chennai or to Kolkata. Once Vajpayee ji himself had to rush to Kolkata and touched the feet of Mamata Banerjee’s mother. That was a masterstroke – Vajpayee ji didn’t say a single word – but work was done. Mamata ji fell in line.

During one of his election campaigns Modiji said – “he is missing a strong opposition –he is also missing a good opposition”; perhaps both in numerical and quality terms. Yes, in a democracy number matters, but only numbers without quality are meaningless and futile. Good quality opposition with a respectable number is indispensable for a great and robust democracy.

We are coming back to coalition politics – whether it is good or bad , let us not dwell on it . We have to accept it, because it is the mandate given by the people of this great country. Whether you like it or not – that is immaterial. We must explore the best possibilities of running a good coalition government. Running a coalition government is an art .

The coalition experiments in the late 70’s and late 90 failed miserably. Later Narasimha Rao and Vajpayee could run their coalitions successfully – with difficulty. One major disadvantage of the coalition government is that it can’t take decisive decisions.

This time not a single party could manage an absolute majority. The most powerful BJP could get just 240 seats, whereas the magic mark is 272. Of course now their number is near 300 with their partners. The NDA is a pre election coalition. They are now with a comfortable number to run a stable government.

Still Nitish ji insists that the NDA must move fast . He personally insisted Modiji to move faster . Nitish ji is a very experienced coalition politician – perhaps he senses something that might be the reason why he keeps insisting to move hastily. In the last three days he has made the same request twice.

Many sensible citizens could feel that ‘400 or 370’ were just slogans. Still they remained silent because they also wanted to be silent partners to the powerful game of democracy i.e., the elections. Most likely the proponents of this ‘400-370’ formula were quite skeptical about this projection. Somehow they did it and succeeded too – not fully, but to the level of government formation.

This is a win-win election for many. BJP is happy because they are forming the government for the third consecutive term, of course with their friends and also they have made inroads in the South (vote percentage increased considerably).

At the same time Congress is elated because they have revived – managed to get almost 100 seats. Others are also happy for their own reasons. I am happy because opposition is boosted and democracy upheld.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 11 2024.



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