Where only one or two parties dominate is the ability of the ordinary citizen to “Speak truth to power”. Whether one agrees with the idea that we need more political parties, in a democracy the most important issue is the power to ask questions. Those in total power get very angry when you ask questions.
Lord Acton famously said in 1897 that “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men”.
In the last 10 years, the Congress controlled the central government; it had virtually no Opposition, since the BJP was very friendly and threw weak punches. The BJP debated with the Congress but never seriously attacked the government or watched it carefully. The BJP and Congress behaved as if they were college debaters and not nationally important political parties. The BJP discussed everything under the sun, but never the massive corruption of telecom, Commonwealth games, Defence contracts. After scams broke out, and courts took up the issue, then the BJP started shouting
The BJP failed to act as a serious opposition party since it had its own skeletons to hide. It was left to individuals and lawyers like Prashant Bhushan, Dr.Subramaniam Swami and others to go to courts and hit the streets and raise corruption in the national mind. In any democracy, it would have been the leading Opposition party to raise such issues to corner the government. But the BJP never did that for its own reasons in Delhi.
If there are more parties, then someone will fight the government in power, More political parties will create space for the citizens. When the Aam Admi party was formed, everyone laughed at Arvind Kejriwal. But the people of Delhi showed they needed a alternative to the Congress and the BJP and Kejriwal became Chief Minister.
Tamilnadu an excellent example:
Both Kanuranidhi and Jayalalitha have shown dictatorial tendencies whenever they ruled. But as smaller parties started making an entrance in Tamilnadu , they both became more controlled. For over 30 years, there were only two serious political fronts in Tamilnadu. But the BJP has been able to form a front with MDMK, PMK and Actor Vijaykanth. In fact, the BJP also allied with two other small parties called KONGUNADU MDK and the IJK. Kongunadu MDK exists in only 3 districts around Coimbatore. This party is based on the Gounder caste and in 2009 election, in 4 parliament seats; it polled a lakh of votes each. It is restricted to Coimbatore area and the local people support it.
The IJK entered elections two years and contested 125 sets and polled just 3lakh votes totally. But its Founder T.R.Pachamuthu is a very rich entrepreneur with a TV channel. The BJP has allied with IJK. Even 3 lakh votes is big number.
In Andhra and Telengana, there is room for more political parties. In Telengana, the Muslim have a party. There are only 4 other parties there. There is room for caste-specific and geography specific parties in Telengana. Surely, there can be one party just for Greater Hyderabada where there are nearly 40 MLAs. Then there can be a tribal party focusing on the Lambadis.
Why not a party for a few backward classes? Warangal is a great political center. Why not a Warangal based party? KCr ahs eben promising to make a dalti Chief minister. Now that is all forgotten and the Chief Minister will either be a Velama Dora or a Reddy.
In Andhra Pradesh, there is definitely room for a political party in Rayalseema alone. Then there is scope for a party in Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts. The Godaveri districts can have a party based in geography and combination of three castes. Northern Andhra needs another party .
Strangely, right now, there are 3 people who want to be Chief Minister of Andhra, namely Chandra Babu Naidu, Jagan Reddy and Kiran Kumar Reddy and all 3 are from Rayalseema. No leader from Coastal Andhra has even the guts to say he wants to be Chief Minister. This is because leaders of other castes are given tickets and the are happy t be an MLA or maybe become a Minister. If the show greater ambitions, then they will be sidelined by the dominant castes.
In Uttar Pradesh, there is a party called APNA Dal led by Kurmi castes. No one remembered them till Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi. Then it is remembered that in 2009, for Varanasi Parliament, Apna Dal got 65,000 votes. Now the BJP is offering them an alliance.
The aim of the dominant castes in Andhra Pradesh and Telengana is to capture the new states. They want to recruit the lakh new employees, the new judges, the new contractors and everything. Once the is done, then they will be powerful for another 50 years. They want to locate the new capital near their caste-populated areas. The only way to stop such hijacking of the new states is to encourage the formation of more political parties is that they chip away at their empires. Elephants cannot break castle walls. But rats can eat away the stones and earth beneath and bring down the castle.
Let there be many more political parties. That way, Lord Acton’s fear of absolute power in the hands of some will be distant.