Home >Opinion >Views >Opinion | Post-poll coalitions are fine

Should political parties be made to declare in advance of elections whether they plan to join a post-poll alliance to claim power? That was the question before the Delhi High Court, which answered in the negative—and rightly so. A group called Corruption Against Society had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) asking the court to direct the Union government, Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, and the Election Commission to ensure that no post-election coalition could run a government if its constituent parties had not announced a prior intention to do so.

The PIL’s sentiment is understandable, given the frequent opportunistic alliances that India witnesses. Only recently, the Shiv Sena dumped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its ally of more than three decades, despite the alliance winning a majority of the Maharashtra assembly’s seats. Instead, the Sena allied with parties on the other side of the electoral battle, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, to claim the state’s leadership. This evoked widespread disgust among voters, many of whom felt betrayed.

Technically speaking, however, parliamentary democracy does not mandate parties. These exist for political convenience. A legislative house is supposed to pass laws that have a majority of people’s representatives in their favour, thus granting the electorate—split into constituencies—their agency. So long as a majority votes for a law, that basic principle of legislation is not flouted. Thus, if a post-poll alliance can coherently run a government, there should be no objection. What particular parties do and how their loyalties shift are another matter. If voters feel betrayed, they should punish them at the ballot box.

Subscribe to newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Click here to read the Mint ePaperLivemint.com is now on Telegram. Join Livemint channel in your Telegram and stay updated

My Reads Logout