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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 22, May 16, 2009

Post-Election Scenario

Efforts Needed for Stable, Broadbased, Secular and Pro-Poor Government to be Formed in a Dignified Way

Monday 18 May 2009, by Bharat Dogra

As no political party is expected to get close to winning a majority of seats on its own in these Lok Sabha elections, the political scene immediately after the election results have come in will be hectic and full of significance. It is important therefore to emphasise the priorities for these significant days:

1. The deliberations for forming the next government should be conducted in a dignified and democratic way. There should be no corruption, or use of big money to buy loyalties; no use of force, coercion or violence.

2. Particularly as we have very challenging days ahead, the effort should be to form a stable and broadbased government which doesn’t face constant uncertainly regarding its survival.

3. A secular government is always needed in India, but in the existing national and international situation the need for a government committed to secularism, brotherhood and unity (and to resisting fundamentalism and communalism) is even greater than in normal times.

4. India needs a pro-poor government committed to socio-economic equality and justice which is also able to resist injustice and exploitation at the international level.

Keeping in view these objectives, various political parties should act to promote national interests, not allowing narrow ambitions and personal egos to stand in the way of wider objectives. In particular it is important for the Congress and Left parties to cooperate in such an effort despite serious differences of recent times.


As the biggest secular party with an all-India presence, the Congress should invite all secular parties to form a broadbased national government. The Congress should not calculate exactly how much support it needs, but should throw the doors open for all secular parties to join. Of course, not all of these parties will come forward to join the government, some will offer to support from outside, but the Congress should make the offer and in the process try to form a very broadbased government with the widest possible inclusion and support.

Other political parties must respond as positively to the Congress offer as they can, given their own ideologies and commitments. Political parties can make known their choices and capabilities, but they should not haggle and bargain for particular Ministries. The final decision regarding this should be left to the Prime Minister and accepted with dignity by all.

While the Congress being the largest party will have the first claim to Prime Ministership among this group of secular political parties, but in exceptional circumstances claims of other political parties can be considered. In any event some highly desirable qualities for this crucial post should be kept in mind. The Prime Minister, apart from being a person of high personal integrity, should be a highly experienced person (but not so elderly that it becomes difficult to keep a hectic schedule demanded by this job) who understands his country’s important issues and problems as well as international issues with special emphasis on the new emerging questions. Mere experience is not enough; he (or she) should be able to inspire the people of the country to face big challenges in the days ahead. The Prime Minister should never be seen to be too close to any single international power; he is expected to repair and re-establish India’s reputation for impartiality and justice in international affairs.

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