Does the Coalition Government Really Hamper the Democratic Values?

by Shatakshi Gupta
Published: Last Updated on
Coalition governemnt

If we talk in terms of size, India is the biggest democracy in the world. There are two forms of democratic governments in the world, one is the presidential type which is present in the United States of America and another one is a parliamentary democracy, which is present in countries like India, UK, etc. Our constitution framers adopted this form because the parliamentary or prime ministerial type of government is more responsible to people, this model was adopted for state governments also.

In our country president is only a ceremonial head and is elected by both the Houses of Parliament and state legislatures through the proportional representation method, in which there is a fixed quota to win the election. But for general elections and legislative assembly elections we opted for first past the post system, in which one needs to get the highest number of votes, there is no fixed quota like in proportional representation method.

In order to form the government, a party needs to cross the halfway mark of the total number of seats present in the house. But if no party is able to cross that mark, then parties form the coalition government by associating with each other and then proving the majority on the floor of the house. Many people criticize this form of Government, today in this article we will see both the views regarding the coalition government.

Points in favor of the coalition government

  • It represents the diverse opinion as different parties have their different ideologies, principles, values. So supporters say that this form of government is the best example of pluralism.
  • some say that in a coalition government regional parties also participate in national policy formulation; So, it is better to form of government to promote cooperative federalism.
  • This type of government also acts as a deterrent to an authoritarian regime and serve as check and balances.
  • This government also saves the resources of the nation, as re-election cost too much, and also it is unnecessary to burden on state machinery.

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Points against the coalition government

There are many critics who oppose such a form of Government due to the following reasons.

  • This form of government is very unstable and it is clear from past instances like India has seen 11 coalition governments since 1977, out of which only 3 served their full term, For example, 13 days government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996.
  • There remains a power tussle always which leads to creation of extra-constitutional posts like deputy prime minister and deputy chief Minister which lays an extra burden on the state exchequer. Some critics say that this form of government is actually a means of satisfying the power appetite of many political parties.
  • Strong decisions are unlikely to be made in this type of government due to the ideological clash between parties and the respective interests of voters of different parties.
  • The market also fears this type of coalition government as there is a lack of trust in such type of Government, also foreign investors refrain from investing in a country or a state where there is an unstable government.
  • Above all the most denting factor is the post-poll alliance, as we have recently seen in Maharashtra. There are two types of coalition governments one is a pre-poll alliance and another one is a post-poll alliance. In a pre-poll alliance, people know that who is with whom but in the post-poll alliance, people sometimes feel deceived. For example, there are two political parties, namely X and y with opposite ideologies, then the voter of party X is clearly against the ideology of party y and vice versa; but when these two parties form an alliance to gain political power after the election then it is clearly against the will of every voter. Post poll alliance is the biggest dent on democratic values and is very disrespectful to mass opinion. Not only on the voter side but parties also compromise with their fundamental values in such a form of government.


It is not always the coalition government which is the root cause of denting democratic values there are some other reasons also. On the other hand, sometimes this type of coalition government did well in past and took strong decisions, for instance, liberalization privatization globalization (LPG) model, Pokhran nuclear test are some examples of major steps taken by coalition governments. GDP and the market also grew well during the UPA government between 2004 and 2014, which again was a coalition government. This type of government also saves the time and resources of the nation by avoiding the re-election process as India is a very populated country so it is not viable to hold elections frequently. The most important thing here is the autonomy of major institutions like Election Commission, Central Bureau Of Investigation, Reserve Bank Of India, the office of Chief Information Commissioner and various other departments as these institutions and departments are the real executive bodies so when these bodies remain independent they will perform better and serve the nation better. So we can conclude that it is not the coalition government that is against the democratic values it is the post-poll alliance type of Government that is harmful to the democratic ethos of India.