There are some burning issues in this country in the political scenario i.e.
(i) Whether Mr. Modi and Mr. Amit Shah duo will come back to power in 2019;
(ii) Whether Mr. Modi’s magic wand will vanish and BJP will be a depleted political force and Mr. Gadkari will emerge to the Centre stage as the leader of BJP as it is perceived that he has some trappings of Mr. Vajpayee and he is supported to the hilt by RSS;
(iii) Whether there will be a Mahagatabandhan of the principal opposition party and if so, can it successfully thwart and resist Mr. Modi’s juggernaut;
(iv) If the Mahagatabandhan secures the majority the Congress is bound to be the largest party and logically Mr. Rahul Gandhi will put up his stakes to be the Prime Minister. Some of the opposition parties seems to dread the possibility of Mr. Rahul Gandhi would be the Prime Minister because he is still perceived to be a political novice. These issues will come to the forefront more and more as we get closer to the 2019 elections.
After waning of the congress Party there has been continuously a coalition Government in India. Even the present Government of Mr. Modi is a coalition government. Possibly the last non-coalition of government in India was of Congress under Mr. Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 and thereafter all Governments are coalition Governments. After the initial periods of euphoria post independence of the Nehru era when Congress represented the ethos and aspirations of the people of India and the disillusionment with Congress and Mrs. Gandhi who had raised the hopes of all the poor and marginalized, all political parties slowly but surely got identified with a religion, region, state, caste or castes, language or a leader. Simultaneously politics became dynastic. There is a mad scramble for votes and a political space for which every activity in this country is getting political. I think the opposition in their own interest and in the interest of democracy should fasten the Mahagatbandhan in this country. It would at least ensure a bipolar form of politics though in some states local parties benefit out of division, may like to go alone. There are some inherent contradictions for which there will be snags like TMC cannot possibly ally with CPIM in West Bengal, Aap cannot ally with Congress in Punjab or the left cannot ally with Congress in Kerala or Mr. Jagan Mohan with Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. Notwithstanding these inherent contradictions, I think they should follow some principles. All political parties which have secular credentials or are rabidly anti-Modi or Anti-Amit Shah may come together in the coming elections both for the Centre and the State elections. In the State, the party having the largest percentage of votes and/or the largest percentage of seats should be made the Chairman of the alliance group of the Mahagatabandhan in the State. They should also follow some principles in seat distributions. In U.P. for example, in the last Lok Sabha election, the following is the figure:
Party Votes Seats
Samajwadi Party 22% 5
BSP 19% 0
Congress 7% 2
Others of UPA 7% 2
Presuming these parties are in Gatbandhan then the ratio should be vote plus seats i.e. Samajwadi 27, BSP 19, Congress 9, others 9, the total adds up to 65. Since the total seats of U.P. is 80, the number of seats would be Samajwadi 34, BSP 24, Congress 11, others 11(approximately). The next step would be selecting the Chairman of the Co-ordination Committee of the alliance, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker and distribution of Cabinet berths provided the Mahagatabandhan gets the majority to form a Government. All the parties should first elect the leader of their legislative party. After the leader is elected, parties will first elect a Chairman of the Co-ordination Committee (who need not be a member of Lok Sabha). In case there are more than two candidates, the person also gets a majority of the votes of their total strength in Lok Sabha will be elected. If none secure the majority of votes, then there would be re-election amongst number one and number two and thereafter who secures majority would be elected Chairman of the Co-ordination Committee. Thereafter the same process would be adopted for the post of Prime Minister who has to be Member of the Lok Sabha and the person securing majority of votes of the total strength would be the Prime Minister and the second person would be the Deputy Prime Minister and finally the Cabinet and Speaker would be chosen according to the decision of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and leaders of Co-ordination Committee with due consultation with leaders of all political parties. Due regard must be given to the strength of the party and regional balances in distributing the Cabinet berths and Speaker.
Now coming to the other alliance led by BJP as such BJP is a buoyant party and is ruling in Centre and many states. Presently it has alliance with Shiv Sena (though fragile) in Maharashtra, J.D.(U) and Paswan in Bihar and ADMK in Tamil Nadu. Some parties like TRS and BJD would possibly wait in the fringes and would make any tie up, post elections with a winning combination. But however, this development would be healthy for democracy and may broadly lead to two groups of combinations with internal checks and balances. I think the Mahagatabandhan should not be unduly weary of Mr. Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister or not which will broadly depend upon numbers which can be known post elections. In the larger interest of the country and democracy, every party should take sides and stick to some principles notwithstanding local issues or regional factors. I think democracy and secularism can be well protected if the major political fight is between two groups of parties in the next elections.
S. K. PADHI
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DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of Odisha Sun Times.