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GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION: PILLARS OF HEALTHY DEMOCRACY

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

By

Tannu Gupta, II year of B.B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Galgotias University


In the era of Ancient civilization, man lived in caves. Then the man started using various analogies and finally they started building their Habitations. Vast is the range of these buildings and findings today, from Ancient habitants to the revolutionary structure of Rome, Italy etc. What any structure or buildings demand is the balancing of stresses and strains in the various parts of a building. Human Activity is to a matter of balanced stresses and strains. A harmonization of these tenses is the duty of various institutions, values, concepts or ideas. In the Democratic structure, the concept of Role of Government and Role of Opposition is a very important factor because both are one of the very essences of Democracy, and they both can reconcile the various disharmonies inherent to the system.

Democracy originated from a Greek word- ("dēmos" and Kratos "rule") which means a form of government, in which people are free to choose their representatives and the supreme power is vested in the hands of people of the country. Even in the 20th century, some people misunderstood the facts of Democracy and also misused and interpreted democracy for the sake of political greed. We were well aware of the fact that the concept of past makes us forget our mistakes and introspect those mistake that was committed and misfortune befell us; on the other hand concept of future being not known, makes us hope for better times to come, but the democratic situation somehow shows the negative trends. Recently The Global Democracy survey, which is conducted by The Economist intelligence unit, India slipped 10 places to 51st position in 2019 in democracy index [1]. Our India is included in the flawed democracy country category, in which countries hold free and fair elections and where civil liberties are respected but have significant weakness in aspects of Democracy, such as problematic governances, an underdeveloped political regime, and low level of political participation. All these trends emerge due to the weak opposition and diminishing morality of both government and opposition parties. There is an urgent need to balance and figure out the difference and lack of coordination between government and opposition because for the smooth functioning of any democratic country, the citizens personal and civil liberties must be protected and both opposition and government needs to realise their role and how they can make a country's democracy smooth and well-functioned.


The role of opposition manifests itself in the life of democratic culture too, though not in too articulate a manner. An ideal democracy, those who find fault with the party in power express their views through the umbrella of various media networks, like press, newspapers, posters, magazines etc. In general, the opposition plays the role of intermediary, of people and the ruling party. The opposition from the general public is expected to keep the government in power on its toes.


But we see that in India when BJP wins with full majority in 2014 Loksabha general elections, the opposition has become very weak. Opposition adopts various measures and tricks to bring the established government into disrepute. Recently, when the government introduced the CAA, the opposition plays a very negative role, in the political greed they were started spreading rumours about CAA, they range from lying down on the rail track to the burning of buses and such other property of government even, riot's killed the innocent general public. According to me, what the opposition of the legislatures is expected to do is to flourish the political climate and maintain the harmony of the community so that they can exercise their right judicially, besides, no method adopted by the opposition should lead to violence because that would be a total denial of the very spirit of Democracy.

Thus, what is known as the role of the opposition party in the democratic world is valuable and alive though deadly at times. It is up to the opposition that they will play a negative role or positive role. Whenever the opposition conducts itself within the justified limits- the inherent loopholes of the democracy, it makes democracy a success as we all are aware of the fact that the federal government who is directly elected by the people of the country, plays a very significant role in the smooth functioning of the democratic country. They were like the watchdog to the country. The greater the command the man has exhibited over nature, the greater is the extent and intensity of the power exercised by the government. The main function of the government is to protect the basic human rights of citizens to ensure the right to life with personal liberties.


The government needs to adhere to the Gandhian ideology that democratic societies are committed to the values of cooperation, coordination, tolerance and compromise. So, both pillars of democracy, government or opposite are two sides of the same coin, for the welfare of people, the government needs to become more proactive and vigilant not only in the times of election. [2] According to scholar and writer Larry Diamond, a central paradox exists between conflict and consensus. Democracy is in many ways nothing but more than a set of norms and values for managing conflict.


Thus, what is known as a democratic society is only a concept of the 20th century. In all the democracies of the world, we are aware of the fact that what is known as individuals’ freedom is a myth. Equally mystifying is the concept of individual participation in the political activity of the state. The democracy of today is an oligarchy subsisting on foolishness. So, we conclude that without the transparent and fluent participation of the government as well as opposition, Democracy loses its true nature. To make our India's democracy healthier, the need for our is to educate and aware the people of the country and government or opposition both need to maintain coordination. The government simultaneously has to take steps and amend laws for the welfare and development of the people of the country and make India a new and emerging leader in the new world order and dynamic scenarios. The opposition in legislatures is quite considerable. The first among them is in the parliament questionnaire. It often happens that whenever a member asks a question, be it a Dr. Lohia in the Lok Sabha or Winston Churchill on the opposition benches, the government is made to fend for itself. The late Joseph Brodsky, Russian-born poet and Nobel prize winner, wrote, "A free man, when he fails, blames nobody." It is true as well as for the government of democracy who, finally, must take responsibility for the fate of the society in which the citizens themselves have chosen to live. Therefore, democracy is both a challenge as well as a promise to the opposition, government and for the citizens of the country. It is upon the political parties that how they react and deal with certain dynamic situations and take steps to overcome the same by protecting the basic human rights and liberties of the people of the country. Scholar Diane Ravitch observes :

"Coalition-building is the essence of democratic actions. It teaches interest groups to negotiate with others, to compromise, and to work within the constitutional system. By working to establish a coalition, groups with differences learn how to argue peaceably, how to pursue their goals democratically, and ultimately how to live in a world of diversity. "


[1] The Economist Intelligence Unit, which cited, "erosion of civil liberties " in the country as the primary cause for the downtrend. India was included in the " flawed democracy " category. India's overall score fell from 7.23 in 2018 to 6.90 in 2019. According to the report, there are only 22 "full democracy " as compared to 54 "authoritarian regimes" and as many flawed democracies, that includes the US also.

[2] Introduction: what is democracy? - US Embassy Seoul.

Democracy in brief_kor-.pdf - In a democracy, the government is only one thread in the social fabric of many and varied public and private institutions, legal forums, political parties, organizations and associations. This diversity is called pluralism.