Context

  • Coalition Government is an alliance of distinct political parties having common agreed programme/agenda
  • co-operative arrangement
  • direct descendant of the exigencies of multi-party system in a democratic set-up

Features of Coalition Government

  • formed for the sake of some reward, material or psychic
  • implies the existence of at least two partners
  • stands on the simple fact of temporary conjunction of specific interest
  • not a static but a dynamic affair
  • compromise, and rigid dogma has no place in it
  • works on the basis of a minimum programme, which may not be ideal for each partner
  • Pragmatism and not ideology is the hallmark of coalition politics
  • Purpose is to seize power

Merits of Coalition Government

  • accommodation of diverse interests in the functioning of the government
  • acts as a channel to meet the expectations and redress the grievances of different groups
  • more representative in nature and it better reflects the popular opinion of the electorate
  • leads to consensus-based politics
  • strengthens the federal fabric of the Indian political system
  • more sensitive and responsive to the regional demands and concerns than the single-party government
  • reduces the tyranny of government(despotic rule)

Demerits of Coalition Government

  • unstable or prone to instability
  • critics have called them as ‘Super Prime Ministers’ or ‘Ultra Prime Ministers’
  • Steering Committee or the Co-ordination Committee of the coalition partners acts as the ‘Super-Cabinet’, and thereby it undermines the role and position of the cabinet in the functioning of the governmental machinery
  • possibility of the smaller constituents of the coalition government playing the role of a ‘King-maker’
  • leaders of regional parties bring in the regional factors in the national decision-making
  • size of the Council of Ministers is generally quite large
  • do not assume responsibility for the administrative failures and lapses

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