Advance information on Post Poll Alliances
Politics in India is one thing which has been discussed a part of our daily lives and this is something which has day in and day out at our homes with our family members at home, colleagues at workplace. Discussion of politics just does not end with home or office it goes beyond it as we discuss about it even strangers like auto drivers, and co passengers in train who are unknown to us. The bitter truth however is that majority of discussion borders on criticism of politicians and political parties.
In the current structure while the we the voters have absolute right in electing a member of our choice, our rights end once we have casted a vote. After having voted a party to power say the BJP, Congress or Janata Dal whether we are going to be governed by a single party with absolute majority, single largest parties or a assortment of parties in which the main party might have secured only 10% of the total number of seats in the assembly. While the voter cannot predict what happens once he has exercised his right to vote, the election commission should bring in more transparency in which the voter should be provided with a lot more information than the name of the candidate. The following information should be made available made to the voter well in advance.
1. Post Poll Alliances:- While it is fair enough for a political party to fight elections on its own without having to depend on ally which could be a probable hindrance to smooth administration they cannot forecast the result as there is a possibility of a fractured verdict or a thin majority which has been happening in India since the last two decades with Karnataka being the most recent case. In such a situation political parties should be instructed by election commission to give their preferred choice of another political party should they decide to forge a alliance in the case of a fractured verdict. The information can be provided by the election commission on websites which should be made available to the public well in advance. It is also advisable to have the information provided on the ballot paper as well. The advantage here is that if a voter knows that his preferred political party is in the hands of a safe ally he can go ahead with his decision and if the voter feels that the ally would be a hindrance in smooth running of government in future, he can choose another political party or combination.
2. Post poll Enemies:- Similarly political parties should be instructed by election commission to list out their enemies or parties with whom they would not like to forge alliances after elections.
3. Political parties to provide list of Chief Ministerial candidates:- Political parties should be instructed to list our their Chief Ministerial candidates well in advance. As a single Chief Ministerial candidate is not assured of winning a election, the political parties can list a few of them. If there are 5 Chief Ministerial candidates listed by the party and if the voter feels that 3 of them are not good enough this gives them the option to reject them by not voting for them. Indirectly it would also mean that people have had a choice in selecting the Chief Minister rather than a one forced on them.
4. Defections:- Election commission should give details of number of defections of the candidates against their name in their websites meant for public. The same information should be provided on ballot papers as well. If the voter knows well in advance that the candidate may shift to any other party then he can choose another candidate of his choice.
While the above points would give the voter clarity which would help them in choosing the right political party or combination, election commission should ensure the following after the elections.
1. Power sharing can be done only as per pre poll preferences:- In the event of a fractured mandate, the single largest party or a combination of smaller parties can share power subject to the condition that they have listed themselves as allies. Pre poll enemy parties should not be allowed to share power something which had happened in Karnataka when Janata Dal shared power first with Congress and then with BJP.
2. Single largest party should be allowed to rule the State in exceptional cases:- In many cases single largest parties have failed to rule the state because of not having obtained absolute majority. Even if a combination of political parties outnumber the single largest party election commission should discount the number of seats obtained by pre poll enemies and arrive at a net figure and if the net figure is lower than the single largest party, then the single largest party should be allowed to rule the state.
The election commission may have some reservations in enforcing rules as they may be bound by some political compulsions and in that situation it becomes the duty of the courts to interfere and pass on the necessary instructions to erring parties.
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