Tuesday, February 13, 2018
TRS key role in coalition of regional parties at centre : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
TRS key role in coalition of regional parties at centre
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Media is abuzz with reports that the General elections will be held in the next September or December. Even if they are held on schedule it will be four months after December. It is certainly no cakewalk for Modi to come back to power. There is every possibility that a non-NDA, non-UPA coalition of aligned or non-aligned regional parties may come to power at the center in which TRS would probably play key role.
Following 2014 Lok Sabha Elections ten small and marginal parties in addition to Shiv Sena (18 members) and TDP (16) supported the BJP which has a strength of 280 on its own. There are however 32 namesake parties in the NDA. In the Opposition, the Congress has 46 MPs, AIADMK 37, Trinamool Congress 33, BJD 20 and TRS 12. Prime Minister Modi has proudly declared that the BJP is in power in 19 States, which is higher than the Congress in 18 States during the Prime Ministership of Indira Gandhi.
While this is the present scenario, in the next general elections, there is every possibility of a non-NDA, non-UPA coalition government of regional parties at the Centre. The regional political parties would prefer a Prime Minister candidate of their choice from among themselves than supporting the candidature of someone either from the BJP or Congress. Everyone is busy drafting their own strategies. The BJP and Congress parties would like to contest on their own, win as many seats as they can and then think of alliance after the polls.
The reason for this as far as the BJP is concerned is to safeguard itself against the anti-incumbency factor. Due to its policies of demonetization and GST the BJP having bought the wrath of the people is pushed to the corner of defeat. Hence the BJP think tank believes that it should contest the polls on its own and try for an alliance after the polls leaving the alliance partners try their luck independent of BJP. NDA allies are also of the same view and they want to be away from the BJP shadow. If the polls are held either in 2019 or before the schedule in advance as is being reported in the press, regional parties have their way is what the political analysts opine.
Several pertinent changes took place in the election scenario during the last seven decades, since the first general elections. These need to be viewed from different angles. One major development that is perceptibly noticed is the progression of regional parties over a period gradually and they are literally ruling the roost. The regional parties, which were having their presence in a state or two in the beginning, have virtually spread over majority of the states and are able to win large number of Parliament seats too. The percentage of votes polled by the regional parties is far more than that of the national parties. As against the deteriorating national parties influence at the national level the regional parties are gaining ground and influence. To comprehend the impact of this phenomenon on the forthcoming elections it needs a deep-rooted analysis considering certain elementary issues.
whilst from one side the national parties are weakening day-by-day and from the other side the regional parties are gaining strong hold, it may not be possible for the national parties to secure majority seats to form government at the Centre on their own. They cannot even reach the magic figure. Hence there is no option left for the national parties to have alliance with the regional parties. In which case the question is, would the alliances be before or after the election? In 2009 elections, the alliance took place after the polls. If the alliance is before the poll the survival of the alliance is better than if it’s done later since it will be subjected to threats, black mail etc.
Both NDA’s government from 1999 to 2004 and the UPA government from 2004 to 2014 survived full term despite frequent threats of instability. In 2009 the UPA government had to face the political uncertainty due to problems created by the regional parties. In 2014, since BJP got the required majority on its won it had no problem in Lok Sabha but had to face a tough time in Rajya Sabha and must depend on others where it is not in majority.
In seven decades of Indian Political history when regional parties started dominating over national parties, the election scenario had undergone drastic transformation. Election after election the number of political parties has been on the increase. In 1952 General Elections, only 55 political parties were in the fray whereas the number went up to 370 by 2009. In 1957 only 19 parties were in fray and it was the highest in 2009 polls and the number may grow further in the next elections. Among the 55 parties that were in the fray in the first general elections, 18 were state level parties, 29 registered and just 8 were national parties. The number of national parties contested in 2004 elections was reduced to a meagre 6 out of a total of 230 and at the same time there were 36 regional and 188 registered parties in the fight. This means while the number of regional parties is on the increase that of national parties is on the decrease. 22 parties had representation in the first Lok Sabha whereas the number had gone up to 37 parties after the 2009 elections.
The regional parties who took birth fighting against the national parties in the State Assemblies have now grown to a level where they can dictate terms to the national parties. In States like Tamil Nadu, the fight is between the two regional parties and the national parties have no role to play. The percentage of votes polled for the national parties is much less than that of the regional parties which is visible more from 1996 onwards. The BJP, which secured majority in 2014 could poll just 31 percent of votes and with its allies it is only 38 percent. The Congress polled 19.3 percent on its own and together with its allies it is 23 percent. Both the BJP and Congress together got only 50 percent of votes while the rest is that of the regional parties.
Regional parties which could secure 11.2 percent in 1984 improved to 28.4 percent by 2009 and 50 percent by 2014. This goes without saying that in the next polls, the national parties will not get more than 250 seats. The voters feel that regional parties are better, and not only the states should be ruled by them but also should have enough strength to dominate the national scenario at the center.
This proves that in the next general elections, regional parties will rule the roost and will leave no stone unturned to form government at the center on their own. The regional parties put together may win more than 250 seats and if they form into a separate front, the national parties will get into problems. The government at the Centre after the next general elections will be a coalition of regional parties and the TRS is going to play a key and crucial role in its formation and survival.