Do you know what ‘horse-trading’ means in Indian political parlance? It’s one of the ‘democratic practices’ followed in India to keep its democracy vibrant.

I’ll explain.

It’s the era of coalition governments in India, at
the center and at many states. The coalition is lead by one of the many parties that very often work at cross-purposes, but join hands by sinking their differences for a while for the sake of power. As a result, barring one or two exceptions, the government so formed is always shaky- the warring interests of the constituents of thecoalition cannot be held in check always.
The numerically strong party of the coalition, whose leader heads the government, is seen with suspicion by others
because of its potential for creating disaffection among the members of each constituent by dangling plum portfolios or positions or any other tantalizing attractions before them. Those who are truly tempted (it’s not possible to hold oneself against such temptations and we all know that) ditch their party and cross over to the other side or bring the
government down by creating a first rate political crisis by leaving the coalition and striving for the formation of a new government.
Transaction of huge amount of money also takes place in the bargain.
The entire deal is called ‘horse-trading’ in Indian politics.
In some cases the breakaway party or group reaches an understanding with the opposition party and engineers a crisis to pull down the government and try to form a new one.
This is exactly what has happened now in the South Indian state of Karnataka.
It’s almost certain that the state government will fall and another coalition government lead by the break away party
and the opposition will come to power. The speaker of the assembly has asked the government to seek a vote of confidence in the assembly on 27 January. The speculation is that the Chief Minister will probably resign before that to avoid the embarrassment of being voted out of power.
The breakaway party has herded all its MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) into the tourist paradise of Goa and the opposition party into the tourist resort of Kodaikkanal in
Tamil Nadu in order to avoid poaching by the government. The MLAs are kept in star hotels in good humor by all possible means by their bosses.
They are worth a lot- I mean a lot.
There’s no other way to avoid ‘horse-trading’ and save democracy.

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