Coalition Government

iasparliament Logo
July 10, 2024

Why in news?

Recently, Coalition politics has made a comeback at the national stage after 10 years of a de facto one-party rule.

What is a coalition government?

  • Coalition - The term 'coalition' is derived from the Latin word 'coalitio-' which means 'to grow together'.
  • Thus, technically, coalition means the act of uniting parts into one body or whole.
  • Politically, coalition means an alliance of distinct political parties.
  • Coalition government – When several political parties join hands to form a government and exercise political power on the basis of a common agreed programme or agenda.
  • Basis of coalition – It is a direct descendant of the exigencies
  • of multi-party system in a democratic set-up.
  • It is a phenomenon of a multi-party government where a number of minority parties join hands for the purpose of running the government.
  • Forms of alliance – It can be formed in two ways
    • Pre-poll alliance
    • Post-election alliance
  • Power Sharing - Power is distributed among the coalition partners, with key positions such as the Prime Minister or Chief Minister and various ministerial roles shared according to pre-agreed terms.
  • Features - Coalitions are formed for the sake of some reward, material or psychic.
  • It implies the existence of at least two partners.
  • The underlying principle of a coalition system stands on the simple fact of temporary conjunction of specific interest.
  • It is not a static but a dynamic affair as coalition players and groups dissolve and form new ones.
  • The keynote of coalition politics is compromise, and rigid dogma has no place in it.
  • A coalition government works on the basis of a minimum programme, which may not be ideal for each partner of the coalition.
  • Pragmatism and not ideology is the hallmark of coalition politics.
  • The purpose of coalition adjustment is to seize power.


What are factors for emergence of coalition government in India?

  • Decline of single-party dominance - The decline of the Indian National Congress's dominance in the late 1960s and 1970s led to a more fragmented political landscape, requiring coalition arrangements to form governments.
  • Rise of regional parties - The emergence of strong regional parties with significant voter bases contributed to the fragmentation of national parties, making coalition necessary to achieve a majority.
  • Diverse electorate - India’s diverse electorate, with varying regional, linguistic, and cultural interests, led to the formation of coalitions to address the interests of different groups and regions.
  • Internal party fragmentation - Fragmentation within major parties, often results in the formation of splinter groups that align with others to form a coalition.
  • Strategic political alliance - Strategic alliances between parties, either to counter common rivals or to leverage shared interests, have led to the formation of coalition governments.
  • Post-Emergency political landscape - After the Emergency period (1975-1977), there was a push for more inclusive and representative governance, leading to the rise of coalition politics as a way to reflect a broader spectrum of political views.
  • Electoral system – At times, the first-past-the-post electoral system may ensure that no single party wins an outright majority thus prompting for coalition partnerships.


What are the implications of coalition government?

Coalition Government



  • Diverse and inclusive government.
  • Strengthens centre-state relations and federalism.
  • Promotes deliberations and discussion in decision making.
  • Develops unified agendas and ensure more balanced policy making.
  • Regional and minorities parties can have a say.
  • It can enhance accountability by ensuring that different viewpoints and interests are represented and scrutinized.
  • Holding multiple parties together are prone to unstable government.
  • Competing interests and agendas can affect national aspirations.
  • Shifting political alliances can impact policy decisions.
  • Negotiations can lead to delayed decision making process.
  • Reconciling to different parties can result in policy gridlock.
  • It can sometimes dilute the core ideologies of participating parties.


The Indian Express| Coalition Government in India

Login or Register to Post Comments
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to review.



Free UPSC Interview Guidance Programme