1. Why is the role of the opposition considered critical for a democratic polity like India? What can be the fallouts of the lack of strong and vocal opposition? Discuss. (10 Marks)
भारत जैसी लोकतांत्रिक व्यवस्था के लिए विपक्ष की भूमिका को महत्वपूर्ण क्यों माना जाता है? मजबूत और मुखर विपक्ष की कमी के क्या परिणाम हो सकते हैं? चर्चा करें।
Candidates need to write about opposition in the introduction then highlight the role of opposition also address the few fallouts due to lack of strong and vocal opposition with Indian context.
Parliamentary democracy is characterised by a system of mutual accountability of the ruling party and opposition party and a much-crucial deliberative process. The Opposition plays a crucial role in preserving the true essence of the democracy and raising the concerns of a larger number of people of the country. However, today, India’s parliamentary opposition is not merely fragmented but also in disarray.
Role of opposition in the democracy:
- The role of the opposition is to ensure that any government maintains the constitutional guardrails.
- Whatever a government adopts as a policy measure and legislation, the opposition views it from an essentially critical gaze.
- Moreover, in parliament, the opposition goes beyond merely following the government and raises, demands and appeals for the specific needs of their constituencies, amendments and assurances using various parliamentary devices.
- The opposition reacts, questions, scrutinises the government on a day-to-day basis in parliament and its committees and outside the parliament, in the media and among the masses.
There seems to be hardly any Opposition party with a vision or strategy for its institutional working or for the Opposition as a whole in India it has several fallout:
- A weak opposition is far more perilous than a weak government; an irresponsible government in combination with a timid opposition spells doom.
- A weak opposition simply refers to the opinions/demands of a large populace (who did not vote for the ruling party) left unaddressed.
- India’s current government has drawn severe criticism from multiple quarters such as international rankings on democracy, human rights and press freedom, an ever-increasing number of sedition cases and spiralling UAPA cases. These instances clearly indicate an ineffective and weaker opposition as well.
- The opposition parties are always stuck with clustered forms of representativeness they make limited to some specific social groups and are unable to extend this umbrella beyond a few identities.
- Failure of the opposition in the past few years has also been its failure to set the political agenda vision and persuade fence-sitters to their side.
- Failure to raise concerns and national importance issues in the parliamentary departmental committees.
- The flaws of the election process need to be removed – including the power of money that causes the voter to swing sides in the quest for money.
- There is a need to revive and reconstitute parties in villages, blocks and districts as opposed to dictating from the top.
- In order to strengthen the role of the opposition, the institution of ‘Shadow Cabinet’ can be formed in India.
A powerful opposition is necessary to check the power of the ruling party as dissent is extremely important for mature democracies to function properly. However, for the success and survival of democracy, an effective Opposition is also categorically imperative.