Whose Mandate is it Anyway?

I do not come from a politically aware and astute family background. My father used to have his covert sympathy for the left parties. His logic was left, whenever it came to power, had tried to reduce price of essential commodities. Besides, being a Bengali, my father had a sympathetic corner in his heart for the young men and women joining ultra left movement of late sixties and early seventies. I have always stayed away from politics, including office politics. In the late nineties, as private TV channels like NDTV started broadcasting news, I took an interest in listening political debates on TV. It is around this time, I learnt terms like fractured mandate, hung assembly, post poll alliance etc. etc.

In the second half of 1990, India had thrown up several fractured mandates, where no single party crossed the majority mark to form a government. The term post poll alliance was used to indicate two or more like minded parties have joined forces to form government. Often these parties had fought against each other. More often than not, the principle agenda would be stopping someone else from capturing power. Desire to grab power is hidden behind lofty statements like “saving Indian democracy” and “respecting peoples mandate”. Exactly, the same drama was played out in recently concluded state assembly election of Karnataka. The ruling party, congress, reduced its tally of seats from 122 to 78. Its sitting chief minister was rejected by voters in one constituency. He barely scraped throught in the second seat he contested. Sixteen of his cabinet ministers lost their seats. Thus mandate was against the ruling party. The main challenger raised its tally from 62 to 104, however, remained short of 7 seats from majority mark. The third challenger got only 38 seats and far far away from the seat of power. Yet, it is the smallest party in terms of seat share is forming government backed by a party that people have rejected.

Question that remains unanswered is who did the voters elect to rule the state? Almost like a hardworking student who scores more than 90 percentile in his test but does not get admission in a good course. While someone else with much lower marks gets in. Because the second candidate is either from a different social strata or because he has ability to pay more money. Post poll alliance is exactly like that. A weak party becomes eligible to rule due to considerations different from voters choice.

A party that falls prey to trick like post poll alliance, should sit in the benches meant for opposition parties. Instead of complaining, they should go back to voters and explain the charade being played in the name of democracy and how popular mandate is being disrespected. I have no doubt, popular anger will wash away tricksters in next election.

22 thoughts on “Whose Mandate is it Anyway?

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      1. Year 2014 was exception year! Fractured mandate is the reality then it shows the shortcomings of the polity which we have chosen.

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      2. Yes it does. But it does not solve the greater problem of neglecting choice of a large number of people. I think more honest approach is to form a pre poll alliance. But most opposition parties do not want to do that. Because that way, Modi will have a face to fight against.

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      3. You may hope. But given the verdict of Karnataka, BJP may be single largest party still short of majority mark. In that case post poll guys will put forward their candidate, who can be Rahul Gandhi.

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      4. Karnatka verdict was not worst as some political commentator suggests, BJP was only 7 away from forming govt that too in South of Vindhya range!
        BJP needs work on its disgruntled coalition partners!

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      5. All said and done, BJP is not forming government. Someone with 38seat is becoming chief minister. Who can avoid such a scenario in 2019? More so when BJP likely to lose Rajasthan. Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh remain unpredictable.

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      6. Haha.. I can’t tell much about your prophecy, but your case study (Karnataka) is too narrow! Politics is all about possibilities! Madhu Koda by just having one seat became the CM for Jharkhand! 38 is way too big number and that too when Grand Old Party has came to such a low that their main agenda is to keep BJP out of power! For this they can do anything!

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      7. Madhu Koda case supports my prophesy. It is true GOP has become weak. But five people with two seats can make ten. One alone may do very well to get nine seats, yet may not form government. Desertion by TDP, Shiv Sena et al. does not help. Petrol price and minority /dalit lynching further complicates.

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      8. Madhu Koda case was an aberration, and we all know what happened followed by that opportunist alliance. Madhu koda even went to jail!
        Anyway you already know, politics is all about possibilities.
        Desertion by TDP can be blessing in disguise, BJP can make an alliance with YSR congress and same can happen with NCP in Maharashtra.
        As far as lynching is concerned, that propaganda is long over and without paying dividends to opposition in UP election!

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      9. NCP will never ally with BJP. Anyway, they are fighting with congress. YSR is a corrupt man. He will bring disgrace to BJP. Lynching is no propaganda. Two days back one person was killed in MP. One dalit was beaten to death in Gujarat. Such perceptions does not bring vote.

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      10. Sir! As I said its all about possibilities! About NCP, let me take you back in last assembly election of Maharashtra, when BJP fall short of majority, even at that juncture, Shiv Sena was not able to dictate the term which is common at the time of fractured mandate just as in the case JDS is doing in Karnataka, even its having less than half of the seats of Congress.
        Why? Because NCP had that number and tacitly they were willing to come with BJP. Fearing this possibilities Shiv Sena has to relent.
        And as far as the Jagan Reddy is concerned, I think this BJP is not a party with difference, if it can entertain one Two Reddies in Karnatka, then why not one Reddy in A.P. ?

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      11. Those days are gone. Shiv Sena wants to contest alone. NCP gone with congress. All I am saying is BJP to form next government, it has to score very heavily. Any missed shot, there is post poll allies waiting. I am sure BJP is aware. Time will tell how successful they are.

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