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Process of Government Formation in India

Posted by Admin on November 28, 2014 | Comment

India is a parliamentary democracy and has a federal structure, whereby it is run by elected officials at both national and state levels. There are several factors that decide the government-formation. 

Process of Government Formation in India

Here is a quick look :

Forming Government at the Centre

As the existing strength of the Lok Sabha is 543, the magic figure comes to 272 that ensures a party or alliance’s majority in the House, necessary to form the government. With large number of regional parties coming in the fray and contesting Lok Sabha elections, it generally becomes difficult for a single party to reach that magic figure. This is when the question of coalition or post-poll alliance crops up. The same phenomenon is replicated in case of elections to legislative Assemblies in every state.

Hung Parliament and the Way Out 

Hung parliament is a situation wherein no single political party or political alliance gains an absolute majority of seats in Parliament. In such a scenario, no party is able to form the government without the support of other parties. The onus shifts to the President/Governor who invites the biggest party/alliance and gives it some time (generally 10 days) to prove a majority, failing which the former dissolves the Parliament/State Assembly and calls for an election. Interim, either the smaller parties try to join hands and outvote a big entity or the bigger parties persuade smaller parties to support them and create a coalition government with an absolute majority.

Minority Government – Possibilities

In parliamentary democracy like India, it’s not always necessary to win support of the majority of MPs or the MLAs. The only concern for the political parties should be to ensure that majority of the members are not against them even if they are not for them. There had been instances in the past wherein the minority government had survived the vote of no-confidence because the MPs or the MLAs abstained from voting for the government and hence, saving the government from a defeat.

Post-Poll Alliances

For some, coalitions are too much of a compromise, but political alliance has become a part and parcel of Indian politics. Now that contemporary politics and fragmented polity have become synonymous, post-poll alliances have emerged as a viable alternative. Apart from Lok Sabha elections, the post-poll alliances have become a trend at the state level as well. Delhi is a classic example of how the post-poll situation compelled political parties to team up leading to the post-poll alliance between the AAP and the Congress.

Coalition Government – Make or Break 

After NDA government became the first successful coalition government in India which completed the whole 5-year term (1999-2004), the situation turned volatile for the successive coalition governments. The UPA government had to rely on the external support to Left Front, Samajwadi Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party to ensure that it enjoyed the confidence of the Indian Parliament. The major setback was the withdrawal of support by the Left Front (59 MPs) over the Indo-US nuclear agreement.  Similar setback was faced by the UPA coalition when TMC opted out of the government over fuel price hike and FDI in multi-brand retailing.

Outside Support in Coalition Government 

The parties offering outside support means that they neither want to be a part of the government nor hold any ministerial position. However, the party forming the government with outside support remains vulnerable because of lack of commitment from those parties offering outside support. The government would always prefer inside support because there is less chance of the regional party withdrawing support later.