Home » Political-Corner  » Merits and Demerits of Alliances of Political Parties in India

Merits and Demerits of Alliances of Political Parties in India

Posted by Admin on April 22, 2014 | Read the First Comment

India’s political journey is replete with the instances of political parties forming an alliance to run the country. Though they don’t always share a common ideology, it’s often the temptation of gaining power and meeting the political objectives that bring them together.

Merits and Demerits of Alliances of Political Parties in India


The trend of forming an alliance with other parties started during the 90s. What triggered this phenomenon is the gradual empowerment of the regional parties. Unlike in the past, the political discourse today is not restricted to Congress and BJP. While public support for these parties has ebbed, the regional parties have continued to gain overwhelming support. On one hand, the national parties have been witnessing a decline in the number of their followers, while on another, the smaller parties have continued to reach stellar heights of popularity. Joining hands with the regional players is the only way out for the bigger parties if they want to secure the driver’s seat.

What Factors Lead to Political Alliances?

More often than not, a political entity is compelled to reach out to another party to form an alliance. In most of the cases, political alliance is a compulsion for a party. 

There are a couple of factors that plays a dominant role in establishing inter-party collaborations in India. We have seen increasing cases of fractured mandate, where no single party gets the majority to form a government. Such a situation makes alliance inevitable. In certain cases, different factions of a political party are seen resolving their differences and uniting in an attempt to sail through a period of crisis.

Be it the pre-election alliance or the coalition post elections, the fundamental reason behind accommodating other parties’ agenda is the need to hold on to the power, even if it means shaking hands with the one-time rival.

Merits of Political Alliances

Alliances of political parties do have its upside when it comes to representing the aspirations of people from every region and constituency. When two or more parties come together and gain executive powers, they find themselves in a better position to serve diverse interests. With the national parties forging coalition with the regional parties, it has now become easier for the Indian states to find an individual space in the national agenda.

Pre-poll alliances between political parties have several advantages. They collaborate to form a common understanding of the contemporary political situation and tailor their joint manifesto accordingly. Hence, they often compromise on their radical approach and orthodox ideology to remain in the good books of the voters. Moreover, in case of alliance, all the parties involved become conscious of their public image and practice discretion in their actions.

It is expected that a new political alliance will refrain from repeating the mistakes committed by the past political parties. When diverse political entities forge a union, there is a higher chance of them succeeding, since they concentrate on solutions and garner voters’ support.

Demerits of Political Alliances

The road to forming alliances is fraught with challenges. Each member of the coalition suffers from the sense of insecurity. Congress-led UPA government has seen the downside of maintaining alliance with regional parties. Even a slight digression from the common agenda or misjudging a partner’s sentiment can cause a great damage to the union. If a single party withdraws support and walks out of the alliance, the entire unit faces the threat of becoming irrelevant.  

In political alliances, every party has certain constraints, which often force them to ignore their partners’ anti-democratic activities. They deliberately try not to criticize their partners because if the latter severe ties, the alliance would become null and void.

Alliance between the national and regional parties in India has often affected the relations between the Center and the States. While regional partners give emphasis to their respective state’s problems and puts pressure on the coalition government to give greater attention, the coalition government is under every obligation to pay equal attention to every other state in the country. Growth of factionalism on the basis of region and caste is a by-product of coalition politics. This creates fissures within the alliance and also damages the fabric of communal harmony.