The era of coalition politics

In his article Rise of the regions: Accommodation is the right answer (March 19), H.K. Dua has highlighted the crucial role of regional parties in the country. Coalition politics has come to stay. Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani was wrong in exhorting the people not to vote for regional parties. For a moment, he forgot that the NDA government could complete its term only because of the unstinted support of many regional parties. Our country is vast with people speaking different languages, following diverse faiths and in unequal stages of development. All this has led to the emergence of regional parties representing the people’s aspirations.

But the question is how to maintain the equilibrium among various contending forces? Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has played a commendable role by emerging as a consensus leader and a successful coordinator. All the constituent units reposed full faith in Mr Vajpayee’s leadership who listened to every one and demonstrated vision in leading more than 20 parties through consensus.



The Congress led by Mrs Sonia Gandhi is also trying to enlarge its constituency by making unprincipled alliances with parties till now considered as enemies. No party can form government at the Centre on its own. So these days even small regional parties count a lot. That is why, regional parties are trying to extract their pound of flesh.

Top political leaders should learn to respect the sentiments of small parties so that governments — at the Centre and in the states — can be run in a spirit of accommodation.

Prof K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar


Regional parties are calling the shots in most states today, be it Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, UP, Orissa, Punjab or Haryana. The Congress and the BJP — the two major national parties — are ruling only in a few states. The process of fragmentation of polity started in the sixties but was confined to the states. It is only in the nineties that regional parties came to play a crucial role in government formation at the Centre.

Though most regional parties have been the breakaway factions of major national parties, they were the result of personal egos of their leaders rather than any policy differences. But then, howsoever one may dislike, the BJP and the Congress will have to build bridges of understanding to forge alliance with regional parties. Of course, the real bargaining will start after the elections for cornering the spoils of office.

Brig H.S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula


H.K. Dua has rightly perceived the humiliation of the Congress (which it deserves) as it is banking only on Mrs Sonia Gandhi and did not bother to nurse the roots of the party after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. The regional parties cannot be ignored at this juncture. They have tasted power in some states and cannot be easily ousted. The BJP and the Congress do understand this stark reality.

The regional concept may not last long; it may not guarantee political stability. Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s two-party concept may help voters to exercise their franchise and usher in value-based politics by wiping out the opportunistic elements who make false poll promises.



It would not be possible for both the BJP and the Congress to capture power without the help of regional parties. Parties like the SP, the BSP, the TDP, the SAD, the JD (U), the INLD have all consolidated their position in their respective states considerably. Without their active support, neither the BJP nor the Congress can come to power.

H.K. Dua has rightly pointed out that the Congress cannot widen its appeal so long as it remains dependent on one family. Similarly, the BJP cannot do so until it sincerely gives up its ideological baggage which seeks to exclude chunks of what is essentially a plural society.



H.K. Dua’s article should serve as an eye-opener for major national parties. No party is perfect. Worthy candidates are sidelined by various parties at the central, state and regional level. People generally prefer candidates belonging to their own region — the native candidates being more sensitive towards the regional problems. So, they should start looking for pre-poll alliances with the regional parties to avoid any mess at the eleventh hour. Consequently, “accommodation” is the appropriate mantra to win seats.



Exam duty in colleges

Every year hundreds of college teachers are put on examination duty for the smooth conduct of examinations. Since the remuneration is handsome now, all norms are flouted by the powers that be while assigning examination duty to the teachers. The authorities may give one reason or the other to defend their decision but it is clear that they do not give due weightage to one’s seniority and experience while assigning the duty to him/her.

For instance, a person with very little experience is appointed as Centre Superintendent and a person, though at the fag end of his service, is appointed as his assistant. Some teachers are always appointed as the Centre Superintendent, the Deputy Superintendent and the Convener of flying squads.

The authorities should fix some minimum experience for certain assignments. Moreover, if a person has completed one assignment this year, he should not be assigned the same work next year. There must be a fair and impartial rotation of duty so that no one feels ignored and the ends of justice are met. Unfortunately, though some transparency was expected from the college authorities in Sirsa, it was not to be.


It’s Lord Krishna

Apropos of the report “Ram Navami celebrated” (Page 12, March 31), the child in the photograph was dressed as Lord Krishna and not as Lord Rama as mentioned in the caption.


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