Why George Fernandes’s resignation from the Janata government made him better at building coalitions
Coalitions are tricky. Each constituent looks for extra leverage, and the tensions between the leading party and its allies are always below the surface. Anyone rocking the boat is condemned by all.
Post the 1980s, many fell away because George Fernandes gave the fight against injustice greater priority than acquiring power. An example of this was his decision to resign from the Janata government in 1979, despite having personally suffered the excesses of the Emergency. Essentially, the Janata government of 1977 was a coalition government in which parties had technically submerged their identities for what turned out to be a very short period. He had then defended the government powerfully in Parliament in 1979 upon the request of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
Overnight, he changed his stance, shocking and deeply disappointing his socialist colleagues and the rest of the country. During the night, having tried his utmost to persuade the . . .