Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Should India have a two-party system ?

In my opinion, both the systems, multi-party system as well as two-party system have their positives and negatives whose effects ultimately trickle down to the common man. The two-party system restricts the options of the citizens of a country to only two parties whose devotion to the welfare of the general public cannot be guaranteed and one cannot be sure if it will stand the test of the time. Both the parties may become used to snubbing each other every other day on minor issues ignoring the genuine concerns of the masses. In case, the voters aren’t satisfied with the government, they have no other option than to vote the other party due to lack of a viable alternative. The second party may come to power but may not be any different from the previous government. Thus, the progress of the nation is stalled and its development and security is held ransom to a bunch of people. US which has a two-party system, recently experienced a financial shutdown due to the deadlock between the two parties. The immaturity shown in making this decision affected the US economy badly. This could have been avoided. Recent bandhs in India sometime which are sometimes called by opposition are adhered to only in some areas. This saves the Indian economy from getting stalled. Thus, two party system limits the vision to look beyond petty political agendas.
A multi-party system on the other hand is representative of democracy in the true sense. It consists of various regional parties as well as national parties. In case a voter feels dissatisfied that a party is not addressing his concerns he has a lot of other options to choose from, and this competitive politics leads to parties appeasing people in spite of snubbing other political parties. The main opposition party which is the runner-up in the elections, scrutinizes the policies and actions of the government critically, thus giving advantages of the two-party system. But, multi-party democracy has its disadvantages too. During elections, In the event of lack of majority, the parties form coalition governments like UPA and NDA.The parties forming these coalition governments time and again threaten the Centre of taking away the support if their regional concerns are not met. Thus, the government gets embroiled in appeasing these parties and hence, is unable to take decisions in the larger interest of nation. Recently, it was visible in the inability of Prime Minister to attend the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka due to opposition by DMK.
An alternative that may be considered is the political system being followed in Bhutan. It invites multiple parties for elections and then based on the first round of elections, two parties with largest number of votes get shortlisted. During the second round of elections, one of the two parties emerges as winner and the other party sits in opposition. Thus, all parties get a chance to form the government but ultimately only one party independently forms the government.
Thus, to conclude, I think it would be wise not to discard the multi-party system altogether but take out the good things from it and adopt a mixed form of government. This change cannot be sudden but can be gradual and tailored through improvement to suit Indian conditions.