By Nagarajan Chelliah
The last 20 years have seen eight governments at the centre -- that if you don`t include the first BJP government that lasted 13 days in 1996. And two of the three governments that served full term were mired in the controversy of horse-trading while proving majority in the Lok Sabha. If one ponders over this statistics, he or she would also notice this was the period when regional and small parties started playing a prominent role in Delhi, only furthering the instability.
Let there be more regional parties
Majority vote against winner
So, the lesser the number of parties, the higher the probability of a stable government. In fact, with more number of parties in fray for a fixed number of votes, the winner often is not chosen by the majority. But a majority of the votes would have been voted against him/her -- in favour of other candidates.
Hence we are left with something called democracy. Not democracy itself. The solution: two-party system, as it ensures that the winner is one who gets majority of votes.
The two-party system, at a macro level, provides for a stable government, with the legislature comprising members either belonging to the ruling party or the principal opposition. The anti-defection law would ensure that a couple or members or even a dozen don't rock the boat on some flimsy grounds. Can it be easily be forgotten how a general election was imposed on the country just as a result of the AIADMK withdrawing support to the BJP government in 1999.
In a two-party system, whichever party comes to power would adopt a more centrist policy rather than any extreme, be it left or right, for the fear of being rejected by the people. So, neither of the party will be able to fight elections on ideological grounds, because voters are more concerned about welfare issues and not ideologies. And since there would be only one opposition party, it would always be maintaining a vigil over the government.
With no pressure to appease the coalition partners or allies, the party in power can decide on crucial issues independently. But this in no way would promise the government unlimited power, because though it can go ahead and easily get its Bills passed, it would always be under the watch of a strong and united opposition, which can even take to the streets to protest against government's measures. Only if the government comprises several parties, it would have to dilly-dally over every action. And only if the opposition is fragmented, would the government get a sense of impunity.
In a multi-party system like India, we can see innumerable parties coming up by the day. Leaders quit parties as they want and parties split over trivial issues - but continue to be allies -- to assert one's authority to the other or to gain political mileage. As a result, during confidence or no-confidence motions in the legislative house, these minor players come in handy -- for horse trading.
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Within a party, no one would like to allow or house a corrupt politician, because a strong opposition can not only expose him/her, but unseat the government in the next election making it the main issue. But in a multi-party system, parties would field corrupt candidates as he/she could otherwise contest as an Independent or form a new party and win the election by winning a fraction of the votes of the electorate.
So, unlike in a multi-party system, which creates more chaos than anything else, in a two-party system, a government formed by a single entity would be stable enough to work independently, but not too much as it would be always under the watchful eyes of a strong opposition.
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