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India shall always remain a Union of States and the concept of Federalism has been strongly embedded in the Constitutional concepts of our democracy. Over the last 74 years of our Independence there have been hundreds of Regional and National Parties emerged and have been instrumental in the formation of Governments both at the State and the Centre. The Nature of Alliance between political parties before and after the elections emanate through compulsions out of Political expediency, Mutual or Direct Dependence, Political convenience, opportunistic, Communal, Regional, National, Ideological, etc. Ironically both federalism and coalition government compliments each other for the purpose of sharing and capturing of power through election process.

Between 1999 and 2009, since no single party was in a position to lead a majority in the Lok Sabha, pre-electoral coalitions have become the only option for political parties to exercise Executive power at the Centre. Much has been written on the importance of disproportionate electoral systems or the ideological distance between parties in the formation of governing coalitions. Hence, this paper explores the avenues and scope for legislation in the composition and sustainability of preliminary elements for a dynamic theory under pre and post electoral coalitions or alliances and its legal existence.

Indian political history suggests that there have been 18 recognized alliances between political parties so far. They are Democratic Alliance of Nagaland, Democratic Progressive Alliance, Federal Front, Janata Parivar, Left Democratic Front (Kerala), Left Democratic Front (Maharashtra), Left Democratic Manch (Assam), Left Front (Tripura), Left Front (West Bengal), United Progressive Alliance, Mahagathbandhan (Jharkhand), National Democratic Alliance, North-East Democratic Alliance, Punjab Democratic Alliance, Third Front (India), United Democratic Front (Kerala), United Democratic Front (Mizoram), United Progressive Alliance. These alliances hardly strived to capture power compromising their own ideologies in the name of Common Minimum Program. However, these Pre and Post Poll Alliances in Indian Assembly and Parliamentary elections can always work well if carried out with a correct agenda under a specific Alliance Program for the betterment of citizens and governance and to provide a stable government, especially whenever there is a fractured mandate.

From the legal point of view and Constitutional provisions, there's no mention about any concept called Alliance. In 1977 although there was a combined opposition against then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi all these parties later on formed a single party called Janata Party, merging their parties and contested the election on one electoral symbol. Thus, the Janata Party was really a true pre-poll alliance of various political parties with contradicting ideologies but with one purpose opposing Indira Gandhi and Emergency.

Since Pre-poll or post-poll alliances are frequently taking place in the formation of governments both at the Centre and the States since 1989 it is high time to acknowledge pre-poll alliance as a Constitutional part and akin to one party and the anti-defection laws too should made be applicable to the concept of pre and post-poll alliance and this must be statutorily acknowledged and endorsed by the Election Commission of India. Official poll alliances recognized under statute will serve a better option for voters.

NEED FOR SPECIFIC LAWS FOR ALLIANCES

The concept of 'Alliance' has now become the fact that 'today we might fight, but tomorrow we could be friends' and that perpetuates the unworthy alliances. There is also a common saying that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. Hence, the same needs proper legislation under a suitable statute or proviso and must form part under my proposed 'Election Procedure Code'. The same could be envisaged as under:

1. For the sake of elections, every party will think twice before launching forth a barrage of personal attacks on its adversaries. Hence a regulated Election Alliance could augur well for a new climate of polite electoral politics.

2. A Regulated Alliance could dismiss fears of EVM-rigging and can manage to accomplish what the Election Commission hasn't been able to.

3. It would avoid 'Resort Politics' when any formed Government is put under crisis on account of lack of numbers for the ruling party or when electorate gives a fractured mandate or when any tall leader of any ruling party passes away and becomes vulnerable to horse-trading due to lack of sufficient numbers to win vote of confidence for survival of the incumbent government or it's leader.

PRESENT PERSPECTIVE & WAY FORWARD

  1. The original Alliance document executed between political parties and the terms and conditions imposed against each other should be published in the website of ECI for information to the public or the Electorate for utmost comprehension duly certified by ECI.
  2. This concept of 'Alliance' should be guaranteed by a specific statute and must be a given a specific time period for its existence which means that no political party can defect or break from the alliance unless it has two-third members' support of the total number of the alliance combined. If any party undertakes defection the entire pre-poll alliance should be scrapped.
  3. Since on many occasions the political parties propagate to the electorate that they have come together only for seat sharing adjustment there's no pre-poll alliance any pre-poll alliance should be allowed to do official talks on contesting arranged seats only in the presence of the members of Election Commission and Minutes of the said Meetings should be published in public domain.
  4. Since the electors or the voters are supreme in our democracy they should never get cheated or betrayed after giving a mandate to an unofficial pre-poll alliance and hence an affidavit duly signed by the political parties in the alliance should be mandated by law and the same should be submitted to the ECI for publication in the website to establish utmost transparency.
  5. There should be a provision of the official pre-poll and post-poll alliance document under which applicability of Anti-defection law should be made applicable in order to enforce the proposed provision for ';Right to Recall' (RTR) which would ensure parties to respect and accept the mandate.
  6. Once the Alliance document is officially finalized the political parties are directly subject to compliance or adherence of anti-defection norms thus giving the assurance to the public that if get a mandate, they won't break the alliance on their own for selfish gains or motives.
  7. A law must be enacted so that whenever any political party joins a coalition either in the Government or supports its formation, it must be bound by whatever minimum program they agreed to under the Alliance document and hence it should stand or fall in its entirety.

Bottom line is that democracy becomes stronger and robust only when people, the original stakeholders are empowered with supreme rights against all those political parties who dictate the electorate and keep the electors at dark about their selfish agenda and keep the democratic process subject to the whims and fancies or few who have the lust for power. A transparent Alliance document would always work as a checkpoint for selfish change of partners in pre and post-poll alliances and also effectively work against defections.


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