In a parliamentary democracy elections are held to elect people’s representatives at the parliament. There are candidates belonging to different political ideologies or different political parties. The party that gets the majority of the seats becomes the ruling party and forms the government. The other parties, known as the minority parties, become the opposition party in the parliament. The opposition has its duties as well as ruling party. The ruling party introduces bills for discussion and if they are approved by the majority of the members, passes them to become laws. If defects are pointed out, they are removed and the bills are modified. Abolition of bills and amendments to laws are affected by the same procedure.

But the opposition party tries  to pick holes in everything done by the ruling party. It is eager to achieve its own policies. It opposes the ruling party’s policies and actions if they are unjust and harmful to the citizens of the country. It is always bent upon exposing the mistakes committed by the ruling party. The corruption, favoritism , nepotism, inefficiency , the misuse of power and the atrocities of the officials are strongly condemned by the opposition. The ultimate aim of the opposition is to depose the ruling party.

The ruling party pulls on by virtue of its majority in the house. But it cannot  ignore  the opposition however small it may be. If the opposition is strong and united, it can shake the seat of the ruling party.The opposition should be a healthy opposition,. It should not oppose the ruling party’s endeavors and bills just for the sake of opposing. It can make the ruling party  withdraw a bill or reconsider it or modify it by offering reasonable arguments. It can put questions to get information. It can draw the attention of the government to the abuses of powers, waste of public money and injustice done to the public. It can utilize the adjournment motions to expose the lapses of the government. Finally, it can resort to the no-confidence motion to overthrow the ruling party.

But the opposition should support the government and even praise her if sees praise-worthy aspects of the government actions. Since the opposition is also connected with the public, it should point out to the public all the mistakes committed by the government with a view to make it avoid supporting the ruling party at the next election.

It should sincerely and honestly debate on matters like the foreign policy of the country, the economic programs and planning. It should point out the lapses of the government and her administrative machinery. The healthy opposition party should appreciate the good points and services of the government and cooperate with her in the steps taken by her for the public good.

Lord Action once said:” power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The opposition should remember his words and try to improve the ruling party. But it should conduct itself in a decent manner. It should not use nasty words to attack the government nor should it attack the character of the individual persons in the government. It should remain morally good and attack the government principles, policies and actions in a decent manner when there is a scope for it.   

The importance of the opposition party in a country can be clearly understood if we remember that even the wildest dictator in the past had some ministers to advise him and that one or two of them had the boldness to criticize the decisions, plans and actions as gently as they could.

Walter Lippman observes that if there is no opposition in a parliamentary democracy, there will be only one party and it will be the ruling party. It means that it is a totalitarian state and not a democratic state. Hence to have a democratic government, there should be an opposition party. It is the opposition that keeps the ruling party in its proper senses. It is like a man praying to god to save him from his friend and allow his enemy to criticize him. A statesman should beware of his flattering supporters:”.. His supporters will push him to disaster  unless his opponents show him where the dangers are.” It is the opposition that points out his defects and errors whereas his friends and supporters, by their flattery, make him blind to his weakness and mistakes and help him to ruin himself.
Thank you,
R.Rajkumar


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