Role of opposition in democracy


This article describes about the role of opposition in a democracy country polities.

The concept of democracy is aptly illustrated by the famous declaration of Abraham Lincoln as the ‘Government of the People,by the People and for the People”,thereby confirming the attachment that the people in general should have in such a democratic political set- up.

India is known as one of the biggest democracies in the world signifying thereby that it is here in India that democracy showed all its facets in their true sense and covering in its purview millions of citizens who have accepted it as their way of life.Democracy is the rule of the people,a form of Government run by the people and covering in it the entire spectrum of population.Democracy also denotes various freedoms and liberties,the most significant among them,in so far as the administrative power of the government is concerned,being the freedom to choose representatives voluntarily of their choice and who in the opinion of the electoral constituency,are the best equipped to face the task and problems of the voters and to redress them in the most effective manner to meet the ends of the desired results.

People from various walks of life,especially in the vast population of India,subscribe to different political thoughts,different social views ,have different public opinions and therefore elect their representatives who have a favourable bearing on their views and political aspirations.Thus there have emerged numerous political parties with different colours and ideologies who all vie with each other to establish their hold over the constituencies and through them on the actual government.There emerges therefore majority parties and minority parties,ruling groups and opposition groups.Democracy however is not the rule,necessarily by the majority,the ruling groups have to,in the healthy set up of a government, consider and accept the views of minority opposition groups too.The opposition has thus emerged from the fact that they do not belong to the ruling or the majority groups.They do not always exist only as the opposition parties and groups.They exist in the category,at any given time because they cannot or do not exist in the other category at the same time.The aspects resultantly create opposition in a democractic set up with all its currents,undercurrent with either clearly obvious or latent,inherent or potential strength.

Like the ruling representatives of the people,the opposition representatives have also a task before them,a liability to be discharged ,a commitment to the people who have elected them and therefore a role to play in a democracy, a role as vital,as significant and as material as that of the ruling groups.

Before analysing the role of opposition in all its salient features,it is first to be accepted that the role of opposition should never be opposition for the sake of opposition.They should be full of anxiety and concern that the democratic freedom are not lost again.Preservation of democratic freedom is very essential.Opposition must see to it that a sense of direction which has been lost sight of by the people at large should be restored to them by the work and creative role that the opposition play and must play to take India to further vistas of glory and achievement.Role of opposition in a democracy is much more creative and crucial.But what do you find today?We observe day in and day out that freedom,rights,liberty,equality,justice and fair play are not only abused but also misused.Those who do not believe in the true value of democracy should not shout the loudest for democracy.The opposition should be very cautious about the use of these terms and avoid loose and directionless talk on this subject lest their value to the ordinary citizen diminishes.

The opposition in a democracy must not only be intelligent,sensible,wise and witty but must also be sane,sarcastic as also idealistic.They should not be intellectuals like the ones described by Mao Tse Tung ‘Swollen in head,weak in legs,sharp in tongue but empty in belly’.Opposition should thrive in large numbers and they should remember that they thrive because an atmosphere of liberty thrives,they survive because an atmosphere of freedom survives.The opposition must use their intellect creatively,critically and constructively.They should have the courage of their conviction.Using these to the optimum level,they must enlighten the masses by objectively analysing the government’s drawback with a stamp of clarity,certainty,confidence and above all charity in all their behaviour.They must always exhibit the qualities of imagination,integrity,independence and incorruptibility.This is of course a rare combination of qualities but as already said they must have an idealistic view to develop and sustain these qualities.They must possess vision and understanding to tackle the immense problems facing the people and must,after objective analysis,be able to highlight worthwhile and long-lasting solutions.

The opposition in their heat of arguments and frenzy should not hammer out every policy of the government as that would hamper their credibility and status.More than anything else they should remember that today’s opposition parties may be tomorrow’s ruling parties and that their approach and analysis ,if dangerous,can retaliate and boomerang on them tomorrow,if they show negative enthusiasm and zeal.They should bear in mind that they are the backbone in a healthy democratic set- up.


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