COALITION – A NON-FUNCTIONAL GOVERNANCE MECHANISM

Daily Post 1512

COALITION – A NON-FUNCTIONAL GOVERNANCE MECHANISM

In the political scheme of things, governance is at the lowest end if it ever makes to the list. The general political perception is that if everything runs politically fine, governance is bound to happen. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Even the most stable, strong and politically numerically strong governments have barely delivered from the governance point of view. Some governments showing sparks of the governance have also been delivered to the woods, is a reality. Governance did not click politically. That barely any government has been able to make a marked difference to our existence is another reality. How does coalition governments which have taken large part of the democratic space, for last three decades or more, fit in?

Coalitions have been endemic to our polity and over and over again, their leaders have sworn by the robustness of their governments and the governance they deliver as its result. Though Janata Party experiment in 1977, post Emergency cannot be called purely a coalition, yet the fault lines in the party was visible since beginning itself. What happened to this experiment is a very well known political story. Governance had never been on its agenda, possibly it was never strong enough to deliver even the semblance of it. BJP was formed on the 6th April 1980 at the end of this failed experiment. Governance is the sum total of a stable government, vision and the multifarious capability to deliver. It is also facilitated by as little of politics as possible in its delivery.

There are apolitical parameters of its measurement which all of us are aware of; social, economic, technological etc. The minority coalition Goverment formed by PV Narsimha Rao in 1991 became infamous for the way it survived the confidence vote, economic liberalisation notwithstanding. Besides this, to even characterise the VP Singh or the Chandrashekar governments at the centre from 1989 to 1991 or the purely temporary prime ministerships of HD Deve Gowda and I K Gujral from 1996 to 1998 as coalition governments would be a misnomer. The one vote loss in the vote of confidence and the tantrum management of the AB Vajpayee prime ministerships is still fresh. Coalitions thus have become a non-functional mechanism.

Managing the political pulls and pressures is the main task of a coalition. Number is the slender thread on which it lives and finally dies. Coalitions are a jigsaw puzzle, throwing different combinations of parties in Government creation in the same term based on the same mandate. Governance is an objective science, having the capability be deliver with precision by a well oiled government developmental machinery. The decision of what to deliver is a political decision. But it has to be need based, on both the immediate requirements and the vision on which the society and country is to be taken further. Coalition governments have so far shown the incapability to pull it off.

THE FIRST MILESTONE OF INDIAN GOVERNANCE OF DELIVERING QUALITY FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER, HEALTH AND EDUCATION IS STILL A MIRAGE.

Sanjay Sahay

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