…this particular incidence is an eye opener to those who are out to fortell that one party democracy is on its way back to India. It breaks the myth that with main and bigger oppositions debilitated and beleaguered, the ruling party can dictate terms to smaller players who have nowhere to go except continuing to support it…
It’s an incident unique at least in recent political history, a government waiting to be installed more than ten days after a coalition has clearly won the elections and been invited to form the next government. So when Maharashtra Governor SC Jamir asked chief minister designate Ashok Chavan to respect public mandate, the fact that the Congress-NCP combine has hitherto treated their vested political interest over people’s mandate got an official confirmation. In the history of coalition government in India, this official confirmation of parties keeping their own interest above everything is unique, too. Look at the turn of events: Governor informed of his warning to Congress-NCP leaders when representatives of BJP-Shiva alliance called on him to ask for president’s rule in case government is not installed in next 24 fours and Chavan instantly pledged that within 48 hours, next government would be in place in the state. Why did Congress and NCP’s inability to agree on a power sharing formula prompt a gubernatorial warning? Couldn’t it be settled earlier? This particular incidence is an eye opener to those who are, like our family soothsayers, out to tell the country that one party democracy is on its way back to India. It breaks the myth that with main and bigger oppositions debilitated and beleaguered, the ruling party can dictate terms to smaller players who have nowhere to go except continuing to support it.
While Congress party has been unable to strike a power sharing deal with NCP in Maharashtra and has appeared to as power hungry as NCP, the reports that Karnataka unit of the party aspires to improve its image by attending to flood victims at a time when BJP is busy power-struggling and win back a place for it among people which it lost in last elections seem quite unfitting. How ridiculous it is? At the same time, a party can disrespect people’s mandate in a state due to its failure to get the share of power it covets and in another it is considering image building measures – in the name of flood relief – to win people. What can these opposing overtures be expected to mean? What’s more surprising is that Congress party’s failure to persuade NCP to agree on its demands and very thin possibility of snatching power from factionalized Karnataka BJP with the support of a breakaway faction – if it breaks – of BJP and others suggest that Congress has headed directionlessly in both instances, with no solid plan and clear foresight.
Coming back to one-party democracy, the most recent political developments in the country – a single national party getting people’s explicit mandate, opposition disintegrating, regional players finding it hard to retain their base – have brought to the fore an unattended fact that losses of many are not absolute gain of one. While many national and regional players have weakened in their influence, the winning national party is far from being in a position to form a government on its own in a foreseeable future. So, any ego, any attempt, any campaign of return of one party rule or that of one-party democracy is a reverie. In fact, India is currently standing at a very crucial political intersection, one way of which can be a path for losers to strike back and other for ruling party to strengthen its grip. What’s wrong at the moment is that both losers and gainers are in a race to commit more mistakes than other, making the utility of both paths a joke. With everybody acting identically, a big change on country’s political scene is less predictable than return of old coalition culture.