The post election scenario in India

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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By Justice Markandey Katju

The post election scenario in India

From all the information I am getting I am convinced that the seats of the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha will be considerably reduced when the results of India's parliamentary elections are declared on June 4th. Presently the BJP has 303 seats, and its NDA alliance 353, out of the total of 545 in the House. My guess is that the BJP seats will go down to about 200-210, and the NDA alliance to about 240-250.

The opposition INDIA alliance should also get about the same number of seats as the NDA alliance. So a coalition government will have to be formed, either by the NDA or the INDIA alliance.

A coalition government is by its very nature a weak government, with its partners constantly squabbling with each other, as it happened during the Janata Party rule in 1977-79 ( after the Emergency ), leading to the collapse of the government.

The first thing which will be witnessed after the results are declared on 4th June and a coalition government is formed ( either NDA alliance or INDIA alliance ) will be a bitter wrangling and bickering over who will get lucrative portfolios like finance, commerce, industry, railways, etc. Everyone will want these 'wet' portfolios, and not 'dry' ones like women and child welfare, social justice and empowerment, tribal affairs, environment and climate change, rural development, sports, etc. ( just as police darogas want 'geela' thanas, not 'sookha' ones ).

Such a coalition government will remind one the era of the later Mughals.

The last strong Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb died in 1707. The Mughal Emperors thereafter were known as the later Mughals, and they ruled till 1857 when the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was deposed by the British.

These later Mughals were Emperors only in name. Their 'Empire' was reduced to just Delhi and its vicinity. As the popular saying went ' Saltanat-e-Shah Alam, az Dilli ta Palam ' ( the Empire of Shah Alam is from Delhi to Palam ).

The Mughal governors and generals became regional satraps, and declared themselves independent rulers, e.g. Asaf Jah who became the first Nizam of Hyderabad, Saadat Ali Khan, who became the first Nawab of Avadh, Murshid Quli Khan, who became the first Nawab of Bengal, etc

Similarly, India will be gradually balkanised under the weak coalition government, with state rulers having the real power. These state government rulers will be the kingmakers ( like the Syed brothers ), making and toppling central governments.

The era of the later Mughals witnessed chaotic conditions and turmoil, and rise of criminal organisations like thugs and pindaris, who ravaged the land. The same is likely to happen again in India in the near future.

The reign of the later Mughals ended when a foreign power conquered India. One shudders to think that history may repeat itself.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court. These are his personal views.)

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