Continuing a theme from the previous India planting (click the country name in the planted in line of this one)…
The ruling Congress Party and its pre-poll allies in the United Progressive Alliance are working on arrangements with new allies who might help them govern without the need of support from the Left Alliance after the next election.
Before we will even know when the next election is–it is not due till spring–the government must get past an upcoming threat of a no-confidence motion. And, there is some question of whether the government’s own plan for a confidence vote is legal.
The preliminary pre-poll alliance plans concern the Samajwadi Party (SP), reports S Shivakumar, in Merinews
The understanding as of now seems to be that the constituencies wherein the SP performed better than the Congress at the last elections will go the SP way and the constituencies wherein the Congress performed better than the SP at the last elections will go the Congress way. This is based on the principle that both parties should approach the issue of seat-sharing objectively, which means ground reality has to be factored in. What better way to gauge the ground reality than the actual performance of the two parties in the elections last held in the state? Even this obviously simple modus operandi would involve several rounds of talks on the part of both the parties [because of bargaining over concessions regarding the cabinet].
“Seat-sharing” here means that one partner would not present a candidate in a given (single-seat) district, directing its supporters to vote for the candidate of the other.
Meanwhile, as also alluded to here previously, some of the parties of the Left bloc are less than eager to vote no-confidence in the current UPA minority government, despite having formally withdrawn their support for it in parliament. The reason is straightforward.
The Left does not want to precipitate an early poll… The Left knows that never in the future it can win as many Lok Sabha seats and wield so much power (vide, â€˜Left fears the PM will call its bluffâ€™).
I suspect that is correct.
Another item, from Reuters, discusses the policy interests of an alliance between the “pro-business” SP and UPA: Govt shackled over reforms, even without left as ally. The story also suggests that the UPA is not keen on early elections, either, due to inflation. On that “shackling” claim in the headline:
Key state elections are due later this year and federal elections next year and the government is keen to be seen tackling soaring prices rather than lose more popular support with controversial reforms.
(Besides, although not clear in either story linked here, in the current parliament, the UPA+SP remain short of a majority.)
In addition to the pre-election coalitions and inter-election bargaining in a multi-party parliament, that quote points up another of the key salient aspects of Indian politics and policy-making: federalism, specifically with staggered elections in states where the “minor” federal parties are often locally major parties.
Finally, a Hindustan Times item has some interesting discussions of the procedures surrounding confidence and no-confidence votes in the Indian parliament, noting that a government seeking a confidence vote is “highly irregular.” That is, at least by one interpretation, under Indian law “the onus of proving that a government is in a minority is on the Opposition and those who move a motion of no-confidence. By withdrawing support from the government outside the House, the Left parties have proved nothing… So the floor test is the final test, but only after a motion of no-confidence.”
Indian politics, always interesting, are really getting interesting about now!