Coalition government is a type of government where more than one political party take part in the cabinet and this type of governments generally occur in democratic countries, such as India. More than one political party form a coalition or alliance on the basis of their political views and aims. Alliances may be pre-poll or it may be post-poll and there may be a leading political party or may not.
In the present time, three main political alliances are present in the national level politics in India. They are-
1. Indian National Congress (INC) lead United Progressive Alliance (UPA)
2. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lead National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
3. Third Front, consisting of 11 political parties.
Explanation of necessity of coalitions is not simple. Since 1989 India did not get one party government. Because any single party did not get absolute majority of 272 seats in the General Elections. According to the Constitution of India, it is compulsory to have support of 272 MPs in the Lok Sabha to constrict a government. When a political party gets a huge number of seats in General Elections but fails to get the majority, at that time the party seeks support of other small regional parties to fulfil the criteria mentioned in the Constitution. So in this way a coalition forms. Pre-poll alliances are also very common nowadays. Parties make pre-poll alliance to increase their strength and unite their support.
In 1977, Morarji Desai led 'JANATA GOVERNMENT' was the first coalition government in the national level of India. After that, India had seen eight coalition governments. NDA Government (1999-2004) was the first successful coalition government which had completed time period of 5 years under the prime ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After that UPA-1 (2004-2009) and UPA-2 (2009-2014) were also successful coalition governments under the prime ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh. After the General Election 2014, BJP lead NDA again has taken possession the Union Government. Not only that, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got 282 seats and absolute majority on its own capability. Now some people are saying that it is the end of coalition politics in India. Now the matter is how correct their prediction is.
It is true that in the last 3 decades coalition politics played a vital role in the Indian politics. Even in the pre-poll and post-poll surveys some reputed channels and agencies predicted that BJP may appear as the largest party but may not get majority on its own capability. When suddenly BJP gets absolute majority it is very natural that some people may predict end of coalition government. But, we have to remember that BJP obviously own in a large scale but it may not be possible without the associate parties. Because when a coalition contests an election the vote share of all parties in the coalition come together and clears the way to victory. Some experts say that if BJP contest this election alone then BJP may get very less number of seats instead of 282 seats. So it is clear that other coalition parties had played an important role to boost BJP. Another matter is that some factors had worked in the favour of BJP in the last election. They were- Telangana issue, Gorkhaland issue, price-rise, unemployment, corruption, terrorist activities from neighbouring countries, Modi wave etc.
Coalition governments have some advantages. The regional parties involving in the coalition put pressure on the government for the development of their own areas. The government cannot take any wrong and anti-public decision easily. Disadvantages are also there. In many times it was seen that regional coalition parties put pressure on the government not to implement certain important policies because of opportunist politics. For example, government failed to increase passenger fares of rail between 2004 and 2013 because of compulsion of coalition politics even though fare hike was too much needed. Even Morarji Desai, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandrashekhar, Deve Gowda, I.K. Gujral led governments lasted only 1 or 2 years because of internal coalitional dispute. But one party government can easily take effective and important decisions in the favour of country very easily. This type of governments needs not to spend more effort and time to manage coalitional disputes. This type of governments is stable in nature.
Nowadays, in India, it was seen that there is a tendency to choose one party government. Even in some state legislative assembly elections also this was noticed. In this sense, we can say public is displeased on coalition governments. But it should not be supposed that public will not elect coalition government in future. Because, in other hand, one party governments have some limitations. It totally depends on the situation what type of government public want to elect.