By Salil Jose
They say it is high time India did away with the multi-party system and adopted the two-party system. They say the two-party system will make India a strong democracy and give the country a stable government. But will it really work for India? Can it ensure a stable government?
The hard lesson of one party dominant system
India was under the one party dominant system for decades. No party was strong enough to challenge the monopoly of the Congress for decades. Our democracy was not vibrant then.
The one party dominant system did no good for the people of the country. It was akin to dictatorship. There was unrest all over. Many regions craved for attention. Moreover, we have seen how the dictatorial party imposed Emergency on us in 1975.
Let the majority elect the government
The only good thing that the one party dominant system gave to the country was that the regional parties became prominent in their regions because of the discontent towards the Congress. They won elections which took place in the 90s. The result was the formation of coalition governments at the Centre.
If the general discontent towards one party dominant system could give rise to so many parties, what will happen if there is a two party system? It will only be an extension of the one party dominance, even though the cake is shared by two parties which don`t know the aspirations of the regions.
National parties can`t feel aspirations of regions
National parties can`t meet the expectations or the cravings of each and every region in the country. This will definitely result in unrest in different regions. People will realise that the majority party which rules and the minority party which is in the Opposition will be alike - both following their policies and interests without really doing anything for the people.
There is a chance that if one of the two parties becomes weak, the two party system will turn into one party dominant system.
If the two party system comes into existence in India, the parties which are going to play the roles will be the Congress and the BJP. And both will pursue their own policies, whether it is perpetuating the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty or building the Ram temple. And they will forget the real issues of the people.
The powerful regional parties
The coming into prominence of the regional parties like the Dravida Munntra Kazhagam, Bahujan Samaj Party, Telugu Desam Party , Rashtriya Janata Dal, etc is the best thing that could have happened to the most populous democracy in the world. Now the major national parties can`t form the government without these parties` help. And these parties have achieved the status of the national parties even while playing their regional roles.
It is argued that the multi-party system divides the people and work against the progress of the country. But this is not true. The regional parties strive for the development of the regions they represent. National parties know only to rule and play politics. They don`t know the real issues and aspirations of the people of each region. And even if they do, they can`t afford to spend much time on regional issues.
When each part of the country is developed as a result of the efforts of respective regional parties, the country will witness progress in all regions. And the progress is not confined to cities or to certain states only.
The regional parties make people conscious about their rights and duties. They have made people better citizens. The national parties can`t achieve this.
They say the government won`t be strong when many parties take part in it. They point out that the government needs to appease the allies always and that it is not good for the country because the nation will be forced into election very frequently.
But this argument is far from reality. We have seen that the NDA government of 1998 completed five years in office and the subsequent UPA government of 2004 also has completed its term.
The government will last when responsible parties join for a cause. The government will last if it adheres to the coalition dharma. That is what we have seen in the last 10 years and that is what we are going to see in the years to come.
It has been pointed out that the alliances will become parties in the long run. The NDA and the UPA have been portrayed as two national parties. And if the Third Front is successful, there will be three major parties. Is a three-party system can do wonders?
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It is not good for a vast country like India if alliances go beyond alliances to the level of being parties. When parties concentrate on national issues, discontent will start brewing from different corners.
The present multi-party system is working fine for the country. Only this can bring about progress and happiness in the country. So let it say.
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