CHURUMURI POLL: Two-party or multi-party?

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam yesterday said India’s future is not in fractious multi-party coalitions but in a two-party system. “Many challenges need to be responded to: the emergence of multi-party coalitions as a regular form of government, that need to rapidly evolve as a stable, two-party system,” he was quoted by PTI as saying.

The President’s premature articulation probably effectively sealed his chances of securing a second term. The CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta slammed the comment as “warranted, harmful and not in tune with the democratic traditions of the country”. And the Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas helpfully reminded Sonia Gandhi that Kalam’s formula is also L.K. Advani‘s pet fomula.

Questions: Is Kalam right? Is India’s future in a grand two-party system a la the United States? Or is the Left right? Are smaller, regional outfits, more reflective of the diverse nature of our nation and here to stay? Judging from the UP poll results, can national parties ever sweep the nation once again as they used to? If monolithic parties are so good, why are they in this shape? And if regional parties so bad, why are they growing?