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The Logic of Defection

Why is in the news?

1. The resignations by 15 members of the legislative assembly (MLA) of ruling coalition government in Karnataka, has necessitated the focus on Defection in politics.

2. It has become a symptom of an even graver moral crisis of democracy.

How is defection bad for democracy?

1. The ease with which elected representatives change camps points to a kind of politics without any ideological.

2. The self-perpetuating logic of earning money by acquiring power and acquiring power through earned money is well entrenched as the mainstream mode of doing electoral politics.

3. They have become less of political organizations and more of networks of interests.

Which are the ways defection affects peoples’ mandate?

1. Defection has created sense of apathy among people about the subversion of their own mandate through horse-trading.

2. The electoral candidates are voted to power represent a particular political party and on becoming MPs/MLAs, they join the very party they were standing against. Therefore, people need to hold such defectors accountable.

3. Even resigning within one year of being elected, as in Karnataka, should be seen as a major dereliction of public duty.

4. Ideally, there should be popular protests or demonstrative actions at the level of the constituency at least, to build democratic pressure on the representatives in question.

What is the common perception about defection? 

1. There is a sustained effort abetted by mass media and commentators to create legitimacy for use of such undemocratic means by glorifying it as masterstroke, political astuteness, etc.

2. Defections in the present scenario directly or indirectly assist the ruling party in its goal of acquiring simple majority in the Rajya Sabha, to pursue its legislative agenda without any scrutiny and opposition.

3. Lack of accountability among the voters ultimately aids the party in power to implement their specific agenda without a whimper of protest.

4. Therefore, the people need to activate their democratic conscience and force the opposition parties to do genuine oppositional politics.