In a parliamentary form of government, a hung parliament occurs when no single political party has an ‘absolute majority’ of seats in the parliament or a ‘legislature’ under no absolute control. Generally, a minority form of administration tends to be less stable than a majority form, because the opposition can always bring down the administration with a simple vote of no confidence.
What’s happened in the past
The problem with general election in the modern era of democracy is that the ‘regional parties’ are giving a tough challenge to the national parties with regard to form a government, if we look at from the nations point of view, with special reference to India, the ‘Ninth Parliamentary elections’ held in 1989 for the first time invoked the assumption of ‘hung Parliament’ or minority government in the Nation and ever since then the following elections which have taken place have had hung Parliaments.
In India, As per the result of “Eleventh Lok Sabha” (1996) was a hung parliament, which would see three Prime Ministers in just two years and force the Nation back to the polls in 1998. Meanwhile, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee of Bharatiya Janta Party, single largest party to win this election, winning 67 more seats than previous “Tenth Lok Sabha” Polls (1991), formed the government which lasted for only 16 days.
Following the official data, The United Front, was created and got support from 332 members out of the 545 seats in the 11th Lok Sabha, resulting in H. D. Deve Gowda from the Janata Dal being the 11th Prime Minister of India. Later I. K. Gujral, took the command of the Nation but when Lalu Prasad Yadav left Janta Dal and formed his own party, hence, 11th Lok Sabha was dissolved to get fresh mandate from the voters for next 12th Lok Sabha in the Indian general election, 1998.
Globally, In a majoritarian chambers with weak regional parties, it is a rarity, as in these circumstances one party will usually hold enough seats to form a majority. Also, This situation is general in many legislatures with ‘proportional representation’ such as Germany or Italy, with strong regional parties. Hung parliament is a common phenomenon is many countries. In countries like Canada the average tenure of the government is one year and four month; most government over there doesn’t last for more that 2 yrs.
In between 1963 and 1966 it has as many as 3 general elections. Well in Denmark 90% of the government formed since 1945 has resulted in hung Parliament. In Italy more than half the governments that have been formed are from hung Parliament. Norway, Sweden and most of the western European countries have had the history of hung Parliament. Germany has had hung parliament is the last three general elections (i.e. 1998, 2002, 2005).
In the context of India, May the ‘conventional wisdom’ has it that the ‘Seventeenth Parliamentary Performance’ 2019 will not produce a clear-cut result as in previous ‘Sixteenth Parliamentary Performance’. And the possible cause behind the ‘hung parliament’ is that there is no universal trend for or against any party at the central level.
Following the Indo-Asian News Service report, in the absence of an all-India “wave”, neither of the two main groups of protagonists – the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the parties in the “secular” camp – is expected easily to cross the half-way mark of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha 2019.
The main concept is that the NDA may barely secure the finishing line or just fall short while the ruling party will not get a majority of its own although it is likely to emerge as the largest party, as per report indicates. In that event, there is every possibility of the ruling BJP being given the first chance by the President Shri Ram Nath Kovind to form a government. Notably, there will be no difficulty for it if the NDA has a majority.
Hence, There is a political necessity, therefore, for the ruling BJP to repeat its Sixteenth Parliamentary performance if the party wants to persist with its ongoing dominance. As per report, Indo-Asian News Service remarked that, the thinness of the NDA’s lead over the other parties can pose a problem. For instance, the critics are bound to interpret the NDA’s slender majority as a virtual rejection by the voters of its legitimacy in view of the fall in its seats from the present 336. The recent report asserted.
The scene will obviously be even worse for the ruling party if the NDA is unable to get a majority and there is a hung parliament. It has been suggested that it will then have to look for potential allies to cross the magical figure of 272. Following the same context, several names are already in the air, such as those of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and the rising Andhra Pradesh leader Jagan Mohan Reddy, although both have been critical of the ruling party. IANS remarked.
Meanwhile, K. Chandrashekhar Rao, for instance, had once taken the initiative to constitute a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front in Mamata Banerjee’s company, but the project went nowhere. Jagan Mohan Reddy is at present too focussed on his battles with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister to pay much attention to national politics. But he appears to have decided to keep his lines open for both the BJP and the Congress.
At the all-India level, the BJD’s position is for maintaining equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. However, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is of the view that he will go with that party at the centre which will show special consideration for the state. It doesn’t take much perspicacity to believe that if push comes to shove for the BJP, struggling to maintain the NDA’s majority in the 17th Lok Sabha, it will listen to Odisha’s plea for help with greater sympathy.
Given such possibilities, it is obvious that the BJP will not be able to display the kind of chutzpah that it does at present. It is bound to be far more subdued, a posture it adopted recently when concluding pre-poll seat arrangements with the Shiv Sena, the Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Janshakti Party. How will the national opposition fare in these circumstances? For a start, it will have to accept the inconvenient truth about itself that an inability to get its act together to stand united against the BJP made it lose the race.
The only card which the opposition party can play even in its fractured state is to assert that the 2014 outcome was an aberration caused up by two factors – the unexpected rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a popular leader and the equally unexpected collapse of the Congress because of corruption – an old malady – and policy paralysis, a new affliction.
If we analyze the election results of Lok Sabha from 1989 we will see that that with time the regional parties are going stronger in the national politics which is resulting in hung Parliaments in India. In 1996 elections saw a steady increase in number of seats on regional parties and they got 129 seats. In 1999 elections regional parties played a crucial role they landed up getting 158 seats. In 2004 Lok Sabha elections the regional parties got 159 seats.
The year 2009 has proved all the arithmetic wrong when UPA alliance led by Indian National Congress almost reached the majority mark in the Lok Sabha on its own. Congress landed up getting 206 seats and the UPA with 262 seats fell short of 10 seats to reach the magical figure. So hereby we can see how regional parties are playing a dominating role in the national politics.
Thus, this is what appears to be happening at present, with the ruling party losing some of its earlier momentum and the Congress party recovering its old self under a young leadership and may they can make batter the lost ground if the ruling party is foxed by the complexities of a hung parliament. Another factor which is the prime cause of hung parliament is that the election turnout percentage in the elections is very low.
India has had an average turn out percentage of around 60 ever since independence in the past Lok Sabha elections. If the turnout is so low and then with the regional parties growing in strength with each elections hung parliament is inevitable. This is simply because all the national parties and breaking up into smaller units and forming regional parties resulting in votes getting distributed. Despite the same, In the election machinery of our country both the national as well as the regional parties participate in the elections. As many analysts say that these are what that makes India the largest democracy in the world.