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.