Coalition Government In India

By Nitin Singhal|Updated : March 3rd, 2021

The term ‘coalition’ is derived from the Latin word ‘coalition, and it means to grow together. As per dictionary meaning, coalition means the act of coalescing or uniting in one body. In political terms, it means an alliance of distinct political parties. When various political parties come together to form a government on the basis of a commonly agreed agenda, it is called coalition politics. This arrangement arises when no political party on its own can gain a majority in the parliament. Other situations of national crisis, for example, wartime, can also give birth to the coalition government so that a high degree of political legitimacy can be given to the government. In a coalition, power is more shared among partners. Many splinter groups agree to join by sinking broad differences.

Coalition Government in India: Features; History; Growth; Merits And Demerits of Coalition Politics


  • Principally coalition governance has two concepts involved. One is ‘common governance’ which is based on a common decision-making process. Other is ‘joint governance’ which is based on the distribution of power.
  • Operation of the coalition is not regulated by any legal staff.
  • Pragmatism is the hallmark of coalition politics and not ideology.
  • The pre-poll coalition is considered fairer and advantageous as electorates get to know about the joint manifesto.


  • It draws its roots from the time of warring states used to ally with each other to defeat a common enemy.
  • In independent India, when there was split in Congress party in 1969, the minority government of Indira Gandhi continued with outside support of CPI, DMK and others.
  • The first formal coalition was of Janta Party during period 1977 – 1979 which had Congress (O), Bharatiya Jana Sangha, Bhartiya Lok Dal, Socialist party, Congress for Democracy, Charan Shekhar Group and others.

Following are coalition formed at Centre:

Sr. No.



Prime Minister



1979 – 1980

Janata Party (Secular)

Charan Singh

Janata (S) and Congress (U). Congress (I) supported from outside.


1989 – 1990

National Front


Janata Dal, TDP, DMK, AGP and Congress (Socialist). BJP and Left parties supported from outside.


1990 – 1991

Janata Dal (Socialist) or Samajwadi Janata Party

Chandra Shekhar

Janata Dal (S), Janata Party. Congress (I) supported from outside.


1996 – 1997

United Front

H.D.Deve Gowda

Janata Dal, CPI, Congress (T), DMK, TDP, TMC, AGP, SP and others. Congress and CPM supported from outside.


1997 – 1998

United Front


Janata Dal, CPI, TMC, SP, DMK, AGP, TDP and others. Congress supported from outside.


1998 – 1999

BJP- led coalition


BJP, AIDMK, BJD, Shiv Sena, Lok Shakti, Arunachal Congress, Samata, Akali Dal, PMK, TRC and others. TDP and Trinamool Congress supported from outside.


1999 - 2004

National Democratic Alliance (NDA)


BJP, JD(U), Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, BJD, LJP, DMK, PMK, INLD, MDMK, National Conference, Akali Dal, RLD, AGP and others.


2004 – 2009

United Progressive Alliance (UPA)

Manmohan Singh

Congress, NCP, DMK, RJD, LJP, PMK and others. CPI and CPM supported from outside.


2009 – 2014

United Progressive Alliance

(UPA - II)

Manmohan Singh

Congress, NCP, DMK, Trinamool Congress, National Conference and others.


2014 – 2019


Narendra Modi

BJP, LJP, TDP, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Apna Dal (S) and others. TDP left NDA in 2018.


2019–till date


Narendra Modi

BJP, Akali Dal, LJP, Shiv Sena and others. Shiv Sena left NDA in November 2019.


  • The democratisation of politics as there is growth in regional parties. The regional and caste identities have begun to assert themselves in political space.
  • National parties are unable to represent a huge diversity of India. The coalition represents disparate interests more adequately.
  • Single party acclaim concentration of power. There is a loss of trust because extreme views and politics are invariably denied to accommodate.
  • If we take cognisance of recent incidences in Indian politics, there is moral degeneration of political parties.


  • It leads to consensus-based politics. It rules out the possibility of majoritarianism.
  • It better reflects popular opinion of the electorate within a country. A coalition government is more democratic.
  • Cabinet based on a coalition with a majority in parliament is more stable, dynamic and long-lived.
  • Government need not go for populistic measures in fear of no-confidence or losing power. It can give more concentration on governance.
  • Government policies can be more flexible, and there is more possibility of corrections with enhanced scrutiny.
  • In this type of political system, distinct identities are more accommodated, preserved and promoted within the larger political union.


  • Distribution and separation of policy fields make control of Prime Minister difficult over portfolios belonging to coalition partners.
  • Decision-making process gets shifted from clear procedure to informal conversations. Separation of power is circumvented in a coalition government.
  • Though the political position of party leaders gets strengthened, political organisations get weakened.
  • It is basically based on compromises and considerations. This is an arrangement to remain in power. It has a tendency to be fractious and prone to disharmony.
  • Parties belonging to contrasting ideologies come together. There is no coherence in government policy. The government can not push its bold decisions because of a lack of a majority.
  • It weakens the political efficiency of government. Slower decision-making process threatens the effectiveness of governance.

UPPCS 2021: A Foundation Course (Prelims cum Main)

To boost the preparation of all our users, we have come up with some free video (Live Class) series.

Here are the links:

UPPCS 2021 (Pre/Mains) - बनें प्रशासनिक ऑफिसर

राज्य परीक्षाओं के लिए करंट अफेयर्स

UP स्टेट Exams- उत्तर प्रदेश की सभी राज्य-स्तरीय परीक्षाओं के लिए मास्टर सीरीज

उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य परीक्षाओं के लिए 2000 सबसे महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न

More from us 

Study Notes (Hindi/English)

Monthly Current Affairs Quiz

NCERT Books PDF (Hindi/English)

Get Unlimited access to Structured Live Courses and Mock Tests- Gradeup Super

Get Unlimited access to 70+ Mock Tests-Gradeup Green Card

Posted by:

Nitin SinghalNitin SinghalMember since Jul 2020
Nitin Singhal is a mentor and Content Developer with an expertise in UPSC and State PSC exams. He tries to make students’ life easy by guiding them the right path and knowledge to cater to their dream govt. job. I have a notion of 'education for all. He has experience of more than 3 years in this field.
...Read More
Share this article   |


write a comment

UP State Exams

UP StatePCSVDOLower PCSPoliceLekhpalBEOUPSSSC PETForest GuardRO AROJudicial ServicesOther Exams
tags :UP State ExamsGS/GKUPPSC Lecturer ExamUP Chakbandi Adhikari ExamUP NHM ExamUP APO ExamUP Home Guard Exam

UP State Exams

UP StatePCSVDOLower PCSPoliceLekhpalBEOUPSSSC PETForest GuardRO AROJudicial ServicesOther Exams
tags :UP State ExamsGS/GKUPPSC Lecturer ExamUP Chakbandi Adhikari ExamUP NHM ExamUP APO ExamUP Home Guard Exam

Follow us for latest updates