Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group
Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee hasn’t earned the reputation of being the quirkiest ally in the present dispensation without reasons. Despite Didi’s mercurial temperament, her party is only behind the two Dravidian parties – DMK and PMK – in clinging on to power for longest terms. In the last 14 years, regional parties have ensured greater occupancy ratio in the Cabinet than the national parties.
A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of days spent by allies in the Centre starting from 13-month long NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, found that M Karunanidhi’s Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), which participated in previous three ruling governments including ruling UPA, has spent maximum 4979 days in the office. Following DMK is the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Mamata’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC). They have stayed in the office for 4018 and 3518 days respectively as of September 17. While PMK was part of all previous governments at the Centre except the current UPA avatar, AITC also took part in the NDA government for six years (1998-2004) and in second avatar of the UPA.
Behind AITC are Ramvilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Kerala’s Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) with 3318 and 3214 days spent in the government. Vaiko’s Marunalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) trail with 3195 and 3152 days respectively in the government.
Surprisingly, the two largest parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are positioned low in the ZRG study list. While the biggest party in the UPA alliance Congress ruled for 3061 days, BJP has managed to spend just 2253 days at the Centre. That smaller regional parties or even intra regional parties like PMK and MDMK faring better than national parties goes to prove that coalition era is firmly entrenched in Indian politics. It is highly unlikely that the trend may reverse in future.
In contrast, many key regional or trans regional parties like AIADMK, TDP, TRS and BSP have spent very less days at the Centre.
While AIADMK and TDP have spent 396 days at the Centre, TRS and BSP stayed there for 830 and 1492 days respectively. Among all of them, Samajwadi Party’s case is curious. The party has deliberately avoided joining any government in the last decade.
Surprisingly, since 1998 only 14 out of 29 partners in the government could cross the average days’ mark of 2053 (the figure is arrived at all days spent by all parties in coalition era during last 14 years). National parties including the Congress, BJP and NCP were featured in the list. Key parties which remained short of the 2053 figure were JD (U), RJD, BSP and Left parties.
The coalition era has changed the way politics is conducted in the country. It doesn’t matter whether it is NDA or UPA coalition but many political parties here go by the wind. Call this sheer indispensability or worst opportunism they are here to stay. For instance, DMK, AITC, PMK, LJP, MDMK, NC, and RLD have gained space in both NDA and UPA alliance in the last 14 years. ZRG earlier also showcased some of the evergreen ministers of India.
In today’s era when no party is untouchable for any front, it looks evident that if one party goes others would be ready to knock the door.