- In India, there are 545 seats in LokSabha. In them, 2 seats are reserved for Anglo-Indian community. So, in the remaining 543 seats, if any party gets more than half of the seats, that party will form the government.
- But what if no party wins more than half of the seats? Then 2 or more parties will form an alliance. Together, if they have atleast 273 seats, they will form the government at the national level. This is called as coalition government.
- Coalition governments can be formed at state level also.
Coalition governments in India :-
- In India, until 1977 Indian National Congress party used to win more than 273 seats. But in 1977, no single party got that many seats. So, Janata Party formed a coalition under the leadership of Morarji Desai to form the government. This is the start of coalition politics in India. From then coalition governments became the norm.
- At present National Democratic Alliance is in power From 2014-2019. Even though the alliance was formed, BJP could able to secure majority on its own in 2014 elections. So, the present government is not a coalition government.
Benefits of Coalition politics :-
- Coalition government will represent the choice of more no. of voters, when compared to single party having power, and hence it can be termed as true democracy.
- In general, political parties have particular ideologies like socialism, communism etc. To say in the simple words, one party believes in the development of economy, and another party wants to eliminate poverty first. Likewise, every political party has some ideologies. So, if more political parties are in power, government will work on diverse goals.
- Sometimes a single party rule can neglect some regions of the country. With coalition governments, regional parties can have power at center. And thereby national government will work on the regional demands.
- Every political party has some great leaders. Coalition governments allow these great minds to work together and hence there will be more productive government.
Disadvantages of coalition governments :-
- There will be compromises while drafting policies just to avoid the collapse of government. If any party of the alliance do not like the policy or the principle behind it, they may stop it. And sometimes laws will be brought as per the demands of the supporting parties. If any party withdrew its support to the alliance, that may turn into the end of the government. So, coalition governments involve lot of compromises.
- As coalition governments tend to face more internal conflicts, there will be more uncertainty on whether the government will be able to finish the 5-year term.
Some of the successful coalition governments in India :-
- In 1991, Congress led alliance under the leadership of P.V.Narsimharao formed government and ruled for the next 5 years.
- From the year 1998 to 2004 , National Democratic Alliance, which consisted 13 political parties successfully completed 5 year term under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- And recently from 2004 to 2014, United Progressive Alliance was in power for 10 years under the leadership of Dr. Manmohan Singh. UPA too consisted 13 separate political parties.
Some of the failed coalition governments in India :-
- The first coalition government under the leadership of Morarji Desai was collapsed within just 2 years in 1979
- National Front alliance was in power from 1989 to 1991. This government too lasted for just 2 years.
Reasons for the failure of coalition governments in India :-
- In general, coalition governments fail due to the differences among political parties on their ideologies, internal conflicts in alliance and the power hungry politicians.
To sum up, success of coalition governments depends on several factors such as mutual respect among political parties of the alliance, good leadership and the willingness to work on differences.
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