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Democracy or Demockercy
Dr. KS Raghavan Bookmark and Share

 By which yardstick can we call our nation a democratic one?

There is no doubt that elections are held for the Lok Sabha and state legislatures regularly at five year intervals. If any party gets absolute majority it is fine.  We can say that the government qualifies to be called a democratically elected one.

But the question arises when no party gets absolute majority. Such instances are becoming more common of late.

In Karnataka a person from the third largest party became the chief minister with support from the second largest party and the largest party had to occupy the opposition benches. The leader of the largest party smuggled fifteen MLA’s out of the legislature and thereby brought down the total strength of the assembly. By this way he obtained what can be called as pseudo absolute majority and he became the chief minister.

In Haryana, more recently, the incumbent BJP party was short of absolute majority by six seats. But the party formed government jointly with the third largest party (JJP) which had only ten seats in the ninety member assembly. The leader of JJP got the post of deputy chief minister.

In Karnataka the mandate was against the incumbent Congress party. But they managed to stay in power. Logically JD(S) should have supported BJP in government formation. In Haryana the mandate was against BJP. Notably, as many as eight out of ten ministers who contested lost the election.  Therefore the party had no moral right to stay in power. Logically the Congress party with 31 seats should have formed the government jointly with JJP and independents. But BJP managed the show.

An altogether a new type of drama is being enacted in Maharashtra. The BJP-Shiv Sena combine has won absolute majority. But the government is yet to be formed because of the pressure exerted by the junior ally partner Shiv Sena. Nobody knows how the drama will unfold in the days to come.

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