Senior Leader of Swaraj India Andhra Pradesh B. Ramakrishna Raju’s article: Lessons to be Learnt from Recent Elections

Senior Leader of Swaraj India Andhra Pradesh B. Ramakrishna Raju’s article: Lessons to be Learnt from Recent Elections

Lessons to be Learnt from Recent Elections

Karnataka has given a fractured mandate. And the aftermath of politics played by the political parties exposed their naked opportunism and greed.
BJP with 104 MLAs, short of 9 MLAs for full majority claimed stake to form the government with a firm resolve of poaching MLAs from other parties with the considerable time given by the pliable Governor. But the Supreme court’s timely intervention has dashed off their nefarious strategy. Subsequently the Governor should have invited INC which has the next highest numbers of MLAs of 78 with a vote share of 38.0% poled for it, 1.8% more than BJP to form the government. Then the INC could have formed the government with the support of JD(S) with its 37 MLAs.



But instead INC with a vote share and MLAs which is more than double of that JD(S) 18% vote share and 37 MLAs, supporting the latter to form the government, by making a post-poll alliance does not augur well for true democracy. Post-poll alliance should always be, the bigger party, claiming to form the government with the support of smaller parties not vise versa. In this context the laid down precedent should have been followed.

In 1991, the INC secured 224 seats, fell short of majority. Yet in the absence of pre-poll alliance, it formed the government with support from the Left and other parties.

In Goa with 40 assembly seats, INC which has won 17 MLA seats was sidelined and BJP with its 13 MLAs and with the support of Goa forward party’s 3 MLAs, Maharasrawadi Gomantak paryt’s 3 MLAs and 2 independents in post-poll alliance formed the government.

In Manipur, with 60 assembly seats, BJP with its 21 MLAs against INC’s 28 MLAs formed the government with the post-poll alliance with National Peoples Party’s 4 MLAs , Naga People’s Front’s 4 MLAs and with Lok Saan Shakti Party’s 1 MLA.

In Meghalaya, with 60 assembly seats, BJP which has won just won 2 seats, outmaneuvered the INC which is the single largest party by juggling up numbers to form a coalition government headed by the National Peoples Party.

Thus the election experiences of Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya and the recent Karnataka should make us realize the urgency to reassess our politics.

Should we continue with First Past the Post (FPTP) system as it is or we should adopt proportional representation system or a combination of both. To cite the main malaise of FPTP we can take the example of Goa and Karnataka elections. Goa Forward Party (GPF) and with 3.5% of vote share won 3 MLA seats where as Aam Admi Party with 6.3% of votes won nil seats. In Karnataka INC with vote share of 38.0% got 78 seats and BJP with 36.2% got 104 seats.

And the other important issue which should be debated and discussed in this context is: should there be a direct election to the Chief Ministership and Prime Ministership to avoid unethical horse trading of law-makers and manipulations. The election of PM & CM should be with the people directly and not with MPs & MLAs, because they have blatantly misused their position for power & lucre.

In this context, political parties and eminent citizens of the country must discuss, debate and come out with some solutions for our prevailing, ailing political process.

Photo credit: DK Shivakumar

Senior Leader of Swaraj India, Andhra Pradesh
An entrepreneur turned social and political activist, Raju has worked on ground level actions for decades.

The author’s views are personal.