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Are ideologically diverse coalitions in politics doomed to perpetual fragility? Israel looks headed for fresh polls after its Naftali Bennett-led government came apart. It was held together by Bennett’s rightist party and foreign minister Yair Lapid’s centrists, with support from others, including a leftish Arab party, and it cracked up over an issue sensitive to Israeli Arabs. Back home, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, formed by the left-of-centre Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in alliance with the right-wing Shiv Sena, has been wracked by the Hindutva loyalties of some Sena legislators who seem bent on breaking away to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Common to both coalitions was a convergence of interests in keeping a dominant rightist force out of power: Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in Israel and Narendra Modi’s BJP in the Indian state. As matters of core ideology have increasingly come to shape policy in both polities, the stability of these awkward ruling formations was always in doubt. Power sharing is often thought of as a glue. But the contradictory pressures and pulls of belief-based viewpoints clearly count for plenty.

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