Much ado about coalition politics and growth

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New Delhi, Dec 2 (UNI) Major political parties today concurred that coalition governments were not a hindrance in the way of furthering the developmental agenda, but instead strengthen the Indian federal system and are a vehicle for meeting regional aspirations.

Leaders of these parties are also of the view that there needs to be a consensus on economic policies and stress the need for jointly drawing out a roadmap for sectors like industry, agriculture and education, to provide a sense of security to investors, both domestic and foreign.

The leaders were participating in a session titled 'Will Regional Politics Reshape the Indian Economy?' at the India Economic Summit, 2007, jointly organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and World Economic Forum here.

Those who participated in the event included Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, National Spokesperson of the Congress Party Abhishek Manu Singhvi, National Secretary CPI D Raja and BJP General Secretary Arun Jaitley.

The representatives said coalition politics was here to stay with regional parties becoming vehicles for the national parties to reach out to the people in every nook and corner of the country.

Mr Deshmukh said regional political parties represent the aspirations of the people in the region and more often then not espouse regional issues and interests.

The Chief Minister of the Western state said when it came to national interests these parties forget their political differences and come together to face challenges.

Mr Singhvi said that India's experience with coalition governments has exploded many myths associated with such governments. He said that coalition governments were genuinely articulating regional aspirations.

A country as diverse as India cannot be governed without the existence of regional parties that act as safety valves, he said.

The congress spokesperson said the existence of coalition governments has meant that the government has had to backtrack on certain issues of importance and yet at other times stood its ground despite opposition from the coalition partners.

He said the image of the country would continue to be determined by the performance and behaviour of the government at the Centre.

Mr Raja said India has been constantly striving for better governance and better alternatives.

In order to make coalition a success, Mr Raja said, it must confine itself to a limited mandate.

Mr Jaitley said regional parties are usually caste based and therefore their pre-dominant agenda is to consolidate the caste base. The national parties align themselves with these parties to create a win-win situation.

UNI

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