The decision of four newly elected MLAs, two each of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), to resign from the Karnataka Lesiglative Assembly and join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party with the intention of contesting and winning from their constituencies once again, exposes the inadequacies of the first-past-the-post system. In theory, the MLAs are well entitled to quit, trotting out any reason they wish. In this case, they seem to uniformally believe that the development of their constituencies was not likely with their parties in the opposition.
The resignations are designed to sidestep the anti-defection law, on the one hand, and the opprobrium of power-mongering that usually accompanies defection, on the other, while giving the BJP government a semblance of greater stability. But they raise fundamental questions. One, is being part of the ruling dispensation the only hope for legislators and their constituencies? Two, can a legislator come to the conclusion inside 45 days of 5-year, 1825-day tenture that his constituency is not going to be well-served if he sits on the opposition benches?
Questions: Is it right of the MLAs to quit so early? Is their reason valid? Or have the constituents who had plumped for these candidates been tricked? Is the BJP right in admitting these MLAs for whatever reason or requirement? Or is a stable government more important? Should the parties be made to pay for fresh elections at such breakneck speed? And, at this rate, hypothetically speaking, if all opposition MLAs decide to join the ruling party, are we headed for one-party rule?