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Role of Opposition - Essay

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Role of Opposition - Essay

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Essay writing has also become a tool to test you on communication skills. MBA aspirants may be asked to write essay before GD & PI. Today, you will read Essay on : Role of Opposition

India which was under the British rule for more than 200 years became independent in 1947. The people of India unanimously called for a democratic form of government which is was not readymade but has grown by trial and error.

If we look at the history countries which were under the monarchial rule could not tolerate opposition and rooted it out whenever it arose. Undue repression of the opposition often results in bloodshed and even change of government through violent means. The French Revolution and the Russian revolution (1917) stands as an example to the above said. Thus, the role of opposition is very much needed to ensure the successful running of the government in power.

The use of the term ‘opposition’ to denote forces within political institutions that acts a barrier to the ruling party is comparatively recent. Although the term opposition was used as far back as the 18th century to refer to a party or a caucus within an assembly, the suggestion of an established opposition is relatively new.

Even in states with high levels of repression it is rare to find no trace of opposition. In single-party systems, the opposition may exist as an underground movement. Interestingly, the opposition in the modern UK parliament, which is also the oldest democracy, consists not merely of opposition parties or factions, but principally of a ‘shadow formation’ or ‘shadow chancellor.’

The party that is out of the government at a given point of time is called the opposition party. The number of the opposition party/parties may be one or more depending on whether there is a dual- party or multiparty system.

In literal terms an opposition party has its leader, its base, organization and committees, and usually responds to every move of the government with counter proposals representing in theory what it would do if it were in the office. In democratic systems, the opposition is officially permitted and recognized. Even the leader of opposition is given an honourable place.

In India, the opposition leader has been given certain rights and privileges at par with the cabinet minister if he commands the support of the required number of the Parliament members. With the rise of regional parties the national parties- BJP and Congress had to toe the line of coalition government which is a conglomeration of many parties needed to form a government. Thus, the two major national parties are now summoned as the NDA and UPA. While the UPA has formed the government for second term, the NDA has assumed the role of opposition party.

There is a need of right alignment of forces and a polarization of the Right, Centre and Left. Our legislators are by and large poor debaters. We have yet to grow politically, educationally and morally in order that a healthy opposition as well as a healthy sense of governmental responsibility comes to us.

The most prominent question that may strike one’s mind is- why does democracy demand the existence of opposition? The role of the opposition is very vital for the democracy to function without any hiccups. An opposition party always looks for an opportunity to replace the government and implement its own policies and programmes. As a result, it serves two purposes.

One, the government of the day eschews being arbitrary in its actions and negligent of the interests of the people in general. Second, the people of a democratic country are offered an alternative in the governance of the country in their interests.

The opposition parties also give a platform to the common man to voice their opinion towards certain issues and to work collectively to see those principles and policies are adopted and implemented by the government. The opposition makes articulate the inarticulate desires of sections of the masses and gives expression to their pent-up feelings. This goes a long way in checking violence and political crimes which are, in reality, fatal for the healthy surviving of democracy.

Out of the innumerable problems which call for urgent introspection, the opposition is expected to select those which are comparatively urgent, study them and present them to people and to the government. Opposition should act as the ‘broker of ideas’. Through this the opposition can keep changing the complexion of politics making it more dramatic and keeping the nation politically alive. It keeps the government on its toes.

With the increasing importance of opposition in Indian politics it has assumed the same level of importance like the judiciary, the Supreme Court. It has become an agent for safeguarding the constitution in case the government does something to violate it wittingly or unwittingly.

In democracy, the modus-operandi of the opposition involves placing no-confidence motions against the government. In India, submitting the memorandum to the President is also a common practice. All these commensurate with the democratic norms and contribute to the consolidation and stabilization of democracy in the social and political system.

It’s a known fact that the opposition party has to extend support to certain measures as they cannot afford to be considered as anti-people or anti- nation as they too have to face the wrath of the people. But the opposition does not always have to oppose the government merely for the sake of opposition. This delays even the progressive steps of the government and results in the waste of time, money and material.  It also misleads the masses.

Issues like Price Rise, Corruption, Unemployment and Heath problems should be taken up jointly by the government as well as the party in opposition. Another example can be cited in reference to the Lokpal bill that has instead of becoming a weapon to fight graft has become a bill to fulfill the vested interests of the political parties. If DMK and NDA are in favour of the clauses in the bill then AIADMK is opposing it by favouring UPA. Thus, the main motive of fighting graft has gone into oblivion. Similarly, the Women Reservation bill met with the same fate and has not seen the light of the day till now.

Meanwhile every legislator and every political party should develop a sense of responsibility. Let the lesson be driven home that opposition for opposition’s sake is most emphatically not the proper role of the opposition. Jumping from argument to action and subversive at that, does not befit the opposition.

Constructive criticism and not blind agitation is the proper role of the opposition in a parliamentary democracy. Strikes, Bandhs, and similar disorderly demonstrations should not be resorted to at the slightest provocation. It is the opposition that puts rein on the power of the government and checks it from becoming absolute or else our democracy will turn into monocracy.

Let the opposition constantly bear in mind that, if not today but tomorrow they may be called upon to form the government.

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