HORSE TRADING

RELEVANCE – UPSC GS PRE & GS MAINS -II

EXPECTED  QUESTIONS

QUES 1 . Consider the following statements  with respect to Tenth Schedule in the Constitution-

1 . It carries ‘anti-defection law’.

2 . It was inserted by 61st Amendment, which came into force in 1988.

Which among the above statements is/are correct? 

a . only 1

b . only 2

c . both 1 & 2 

d . none of the above

Answer – a

QUESTIONS FOR MAINS

QUES 1 . What do you understand by Horse trading?Do you think it is justified in case of a Hung Parliament/Assembly?

ABOUT  HORSE  TRADING

Horse-trading

MEANING  OF  THE  TERM

In modern British English, it refers to unofficial negotiations that involve hard bargaining and give-and-take, and various degrees of compromise, and carries a general sense of disapproval.

The Cambridge Dictionary describes horse trading as shrewd, often difficult, discussions among people or organisations trying to make a business arrangement, where each tries to get something more favourable to them.

ORIGIN  OF  THE  TERM

The origins of the expression lie in the nineteenth century, when the traders of horses were seen to be especially crafty or calculating.

INDIAN  CONTEXT

In the Indian context, horse trading has been commonly used since the mid-1980s when political defections became frequent, and MLAs and MPs were approached to act outside expected party positions and help rivals sometimes form governments. It usually involved loaves and fishes, the lure of office, and is seen as political corruption.

CONTRIBUTION  OF  HARYANA – AYA  RAM , GAYA  RAM

This most eloquent evocation of the politics of horse trading is a contribution of Haryana to the Indian political lexicon. But horse trading is far from just being just a Haryana phenomenon.

In 1967, when the first non-Congress governments were formed in India, the Haryana MLA Gaya Lal managed to switch to, and back from, the United Front thrice in 15 days — one crossover happened within just nine hours. When he finally rejoined the Congress, Congress leader Rao Birender Singh produced him at a press conference and announced, “Gaya Ram is now Aya Ram.”

OTHER  INCIDENTS

While entire cabinets have defected in Haryana, several states have seen the phenomenon of floor-crossing. In the so-called JMM bribery case, the minority government of P V Narasimha Rao survived in 1993 after Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MPs supported the government, allegedly in return for cash. While Rao was ultimately acquitted, the long-running scandal raised a lot of awareness about the phenomenon of elected representatives switching political loyalties, often for dubious reasons.

ANTI-DEFECTION  LAW 

The 52nd Amendment, which came into force in 1985 when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, inserted the Tenth Schedule in the Constitution, popularly known as the ‘anti-defection law’, which laid down a process for the disqualification of legislators on grounds of defection. A provision in the law prohibits the breaking away of any section of legislators smaller than two-thirds of the strength of their party in the House. The anti-defection law has generally been seen as providing stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.

However, a summary of the draft working paper of the Law Commission on simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies lists, among its possible recommendations, that “in order to prevent a stalemate… in the case of Hung Parliament/Assembly, the rigour of ‘Anti-Defection law’… be removed as an exception”.

OTHER  COUNTRIES

While many countries around the world have seen defections by lawmakers, Bangladesh, South Africa and Kenya are among a handful of those that have laws against defection. Western countries like Canada, France, Germany and the UK do not.