oppn parties What Exactly Is Popular Mandate - Percentage of Votes Or Number Of Seats?

News Snippets

  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
What Exactly Is Popular Mandate - Percentage of Votes Or Number Of Seats?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

During the debate on the confidence motion in favour of the BS Yediyurappa government in the Karnataka assembly, Congress leader Siddaramaiah pointed out that with just 105 members in the house of 224, the BJP did not have the mandate to rule. But Siddaramaiah forgot that with just 80 seats for the Congress and just 37 seats for the JD(S) and with no pre-poll alliance, the two parties had ruled the state for 14 months by forming an unholy, post-poll alliance. Did they have the mandate to rule?

The 2018 assembly elections in the state delivered a fractured mandate. No party got an absolute majority. But a closer examination of the results shows that the Congress and the JD(S) were definitely rejected by the people. The Congress was the ruling party yet it fell from 122 seats in the 14th assembly to 80 seats in the 15th. Hence, it is clear that the intention of the people was to vote it out. The JD(S), on the other hand, remained an also-ran. It had 40 seats in the outgoing assembly which was further reduced to 37. Did the figures say that the Congress and the JD(S) had the mandate? Did the people ever expect to have HD Kumaraswamy as chief minister when they made his party win in only in 37 constituencies?

This is not to say that the people voted for the BJP to run the government. But still, it was the single largest party and had an upswing of more than 16% votes in its favour. The Congress can claim that the BJP got just 36.14% of the popular votes while it got 38.14% and hence it had more popular support, but that does not work in the first-past-the-post system of elections that India follows. It is the seats that matter and Congress was a clear loser there. Yet, with 38.14% popular votes, it was Congress' democratic duty to attempt to form the government in a fractured house. But where the Congress erred was in giving the top post to the JD(S), a party which had just 18.3% popular votes. The mantra then was to accept anything to keep the BJP out and when the JD(S) wanted its pound of flesh, the Congress high command caved-in. This resulted in friction within the Congress and it finally led to the fall of the government.

This is not to say that what the BJP did to break the alliance was proper. Luring away MLAs with a promise of reward goes against the spirit of the 10th schedule of the Constitution. With the MLAs having been disqualified by the Speaker, there are going to be protracted court cases and things are likely to turn messy. If the results in the bypolls are not in favour of the BJP, BS Yediyurappa's government is also not going to last long. In the political games being played in the state, it is the people who are suffering. The development of the state has taken a back seat as politicians fight turf wars.