Now that the state election results are out, the focus has shifted to government formation in Maharashtra and Haryana. In the former, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Shiv Sena have a comfortable majority, so this should not pose any problem, although negotiations within the alliance may still cause some friction. In Haryana, though, the electorate has yielded a fractured verdict, with no party able to form a government on its own. Such conditions are fertile ground for political give-and-take, which may not be healthy for democracy.

Who gets to form a government could depend on which side manages to get the support of independent winners. The BJP, the top seat winner in Haryana, has expressed confidence that sufficient independents will side with it. The Congress, which would need more than just independents, appears not to have given up. Congress leader Deepender Hooda has exhorted independents not to go with the BJP, arguing that this would be a betrayal of the mandate of an electorate that—in his interpretation—voted to eject the BJP from power in the state.

Clearly, hectic parlays to gather support are currently underway. Unfortunately, this can mean offers of financial or other incentives in exchange for legislative support, as has often been seen in the past. Such a bargaining game in the quest for numbers would amount to a mockery of political representation as a democratic concept. One or the other combination must, of course, emerge to form a government in Chandigarh, but this should be done transparently, in keeping with our democratic values. The people of the state need a new government without delay so that governance doesn't suffer. Ethics, we hope, will not be given the go by in the name of pragmatism.

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