In India, there is a parliamentary system of government, according to which the party with the highest majority through a general election is entitled to form the government and its leader becomes the Prime Minister of the country.
The second largest party becomes the opposition party and its leader enjoys the status of the leader of opposition. The ruling party (the government) during its tenure is free to determine the policies and programmes and make decisions for the welfare of the common people.
The opposition parties have a very significant role in a democracy, because they are the representatives of the people to safeguard their interests. Time to time, they criticize the government in case it fails to keep its promises.
The opposition parties also warn the government if they think it necessary. Sometimes they show their protest too against the government. Thus they try to keep the government aware of all the issues so that everything may be on the right path and all round development may be seen in the country.
The most dominant role of the opposition in a democracy is that of a ‘watch dog’ of the system. In a country where there is a two party system, the opposition party forms a ‘shadow cabinet’ and remains vigilant over the performance of the government. This is truer when we talk of United Kingdom.
But in a country like India where there is a multi-party system of governance, the very purpose of the opposition is marred. No doubt the opposition parties try to co-operate among themselves over particular issues but most of the time they waste their time in blaming each other instead of playing the role of check and balance to correct democratic practices in the interest of the entire public.
In India there are many parties and the sad truth is that nearly every party is built not around ideology but around the personality of a single leader or a family dynasty. One party hates another and criticizes its activities. As a result they fail to raise such issues that are more relevant to the cause of public. They fail to compel the government to do welfare works. And thus the government very easily overlooks them and conceals the facts related to them.
In a democratic set of a country the Prime Minister has been invested with so many powers that he/she can easily become a dictator. India has already witnessed such an incident when in 1975 the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, after the defeat at Allahabad High Court, declared the state of Emergency in India and turned to be a dictator.
It was unconstitutional, still she did it. In such a moment the vote of opposition becomes more prominent, because only a responsible opposition party can spread a mass consciousness against such unconstitutional move of the ruling party. Unfortunately, in our country the opposition parties have completely forgotten their positive contribution and responsibility to the nation.
They never try to extend their support to the ruling party in their welfare measures. Instead they only oppose the government, which is in no way a healthy atmosphere for the progress of the country. All the parties think only for the next election not for the next generation. The opposition must realise their responsibility and work for the country. Only a responsible opposition party can bring success to the ideals of our constitution.