Monthly Archives: May 2009

Regional Parties, Hung Parliaments etc.

The plethora of regional parties and their ambivalence regarding their support , or lack thereof for a government led by Congress / BJP is tantamount to cheating the voter. A voter voting for any of the regional parties is no longer sure which alliance he is voting for at the centre. It’s amazing that the Election Commission has no code of conduct regarding electoral allies, while it seems to have detailed codes on other minor transgressions like the use of Dholaks for campaigning.

Here’s a possible solution:

1. Within a fortnight prior to the elections, all parties must announce publicly all their allies in a post poll scenario whose numbers they expect to add up to 272.

2. This will formalize how many ‘fronts’ there could potentially be. Of course theoritically this could mean 10-20 fronts, but some of these combinations will be too impractical to get any credence, and eventually there would be deals worked out to reduce that number.

3. A party may well say that it will support two ‘fronts’, say F1 and the F2. In that case, the voters would reward / punish the ambivalence of the party as they deem fit.

4. Up to the last fortnight all sorts of deals / combinations could be worked out by the various parties, but none after the deadline.

5. Post elections, if there is a hung parliament, individual fronts would have the freedom to coalesce with any other existing front to get to a total of 272. However, this would be allowed ONLY if the entire front agrees to coalesce.

6. The formation will be binding for a fixed period – say one year. After that one year, all parties become independent again, in the sense that they can withdraw support from a front on the basis of some point of disagreement. This ensures that the ruling coalition doesn’t get complacent once the figure of 272 is reached.

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