Coalition governments have taken big decisions

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read

K C Tyagi
The 2024 Lok Sabha election is special in Indian political history. This election has been held on the basis of the country, the Constitution, reservation and democracy. The election results have clearly reiterated these principles. Although the BJP-led NDA has secured a majority by winning more than 290 seats, the opposition has also emerged in a significant position. The public's verdict could not have been more clear. This means that the public wants the BJP to be more conciliatory and less confrontational towards the political aspirations of various communities and regions. The results make the BJP accountable and demand the implementation of more constructive and welfare schemes than before.

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The BJP should heed that message in a democratic spirit and reorient itself to the reality of the re-emergence of coalition politics after 10 years, because the centre of democracy is and should be the people. Therefore, this election signals a radical restructuring of Indian politics on many dimensions. It restores a better balance of power among various political parties. All major parties active at the national level should learn the right lessons from this mandate. The lifeline of Indian democracy is its diversity, this too should be understood by all parties.

Uniformity won't work

The 2024 Lok Sabha election also highlighted that electoral success in India depends on a party's ability to effectively organise different castes and communities, manage social contradictions and meet the aspirations of a diverse population. All parties must ensure representation of the most socially disadvantaged sections. We need to reflect deeply on the fact that electoral success cannot be achieved without socio-political representation of multiple caste-communities, especially in a crucial state like UP. All parties must show unwavering commitment to ensuring social justice and recognise that social justice plays a vital role in elections, governance and policy. No political party in India can afford to ignore this.

This time the new government will have to deal with a specific question. After the publication of the first census after 2026, the Lok Sabha constituencies will have to be delimited and then women's reservation will also have to be implemented. For this specific question, the government will have to consider the diversity of India, the role of states and regional political parties in its federalism. Enforcing uniformity in a multi-party democracy cannot be the objective of federal politics and in this election, the people have also expressed their opinion clearly. The mandate has also indicated that the fear of EVMs is unnecessary. However, serious and immediate steps need to be taken to strengthen the public's confidence in the electoral process. EVMs have been there for a long time and so far their results have been the same as reported by campaigners and observers from the field. It is the responsibility of the new government to live up to the expectations of the people and implement new public welfare schemes for their benefit.

The people have given their mandate clearly for a coalition government, and have also held the opposition accountable. The people have not rejected the BJP, yet they have put an end to its big dreams of invincibility and infallibility. It is a myth that coalition governments lead to disaster. The most important decisions in recent history – from the liberalisation of the economy to the US-India civil nuclear deal – were taken by coalition governments. Coalition governments give rise to national debate and open the way forward for Indian federalism.

The federal character will be strengthened

Socio-economically marginalised groups have always been the most important contributors to sustaining and strengthening democracy. It cannot be denied that the BJP has certainly emerged as the single largest party by some margin, but the support of the regional constituents of the NDA—particularly the Telugu Desam Party and the Janata Dal (United)—is crucial to the formation and effective functioning of the government. A larger role of regional allies led by politicians with extensive administrative experience will not only contribute to policy making based on dialogue and discussion, but will also strengthen the federal character.

Having a strong opposition in the Indian Parliament is even more conducive to achieving the goals. However, this will also require a serious assessment of the balance of political forces. Of course, the results of this election show that the BJP is not in the same position as before, but the time for the opposition to rise has not yet come. The election results have made it clear that Indian voters are very wise and they see the Constitution not as an abstract thing but as a document with real-life implications. They also know the importance of a strong opposition and have forced all political parties to play an important role in the rejuvenation of democracy in India.
(The author is JDU spokesperson)

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