Time when single largest party got invited

Time when single largest party got invited

It may seem ironical today that just before the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls in 2009, the Congress had wanted the then president Pratibha Patil not to necessarily go by the principle of inviting the largest party to form the government and instead look into the “stability factor”.

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, who is upset today that Goa Governor Mridula Sinha invited BJP’s Manohar Parrikar to form government though his party was not the single largest, had then stated that the president should use the yardstick of stability and invite the side which will be able to provide a stable government.
There have been times the principle of inviting the single largest party after elections has been adhered to as well as ignored.

 In 2005, the BJP won 30 out of 81 seats in Jharkhand. JMM leader Shibu Soren, with a support of 17 MLAs of his party plus others, was invited to form the government.
In 2002, in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference won 28 MLAs but the governor invited the PDP and the Congress combine consisting of 15+21 MLAs to form the government.

 In 2013, the BJP won 31 seats in Delhi, but the AAP with 28 MLAs, with the support of the Congress, was invited to form the government.

There are other precedents on the same lines available in 1952 (Madras), 1967 (Rajasthan) and 1982 (Haryana).

In September 1999, the Congress (75 MLAs) and the NCP (58), which had contested against each other in the Maharashtra Assembly polls that year, came together to edge out Shiv Sena-BJP (125 MLAs), which had a pre-poll tie-up for the 288-member House.
At the national level, in 1991, no party emerged with a clear-cut majority in the general elections that year.

P V Narasimha Rao, the then leader of the Congress, was invited by the then president R Venkataraman to be the prime minister since he was the leader of the largest party. The party position in the Lok Sabha at the time was that the Congress had 251 members in a House of 528 members. It was short of 14 members to have a majority in the House.

A similar situation was repeated in 1996 when the general elections gave no clear majority to any party in the Lok Sabha. The ruling Congress secured only 135 seats out of 520. The BJP emerged the single largest party with 162 seats, while a Grand Alliance of the Left, Janata Dal and other regional parties cobbled up 178 seats. The remaining seats went to Independents and other smaller parties.

Faced with a dilemma, the then president Shankar Dayal Sharma invited the leader of the single largest party, BJP, to form the government.

But as prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not secure a vote of confidence and as a result, the government had to resign after being in power for 13 days.

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