The new anti-defection law requiring two-third members of a legislature party to effect a defection or a merger with another political party can play a spoilsport against any move to form a government in Uttar Pradesh in case of a hung assembly.
Added to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution by the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003 during the NDA rule, the new anti-defection law came into force from January 1, 2004.
The new law became necessary after the 1985 anti-defection law requiring one-third members of a legislature party for defection or merger without incurring disqualification failed to check the ‘Aaya Ram Gaya Ram’ phenomenon of Indian politics.
In the last assembly, Mulayam Singh Yadav engineered split/s in the BSP and formed a government with the support of the breakaway group - Loktantrik Bahujan Dal. Later, the breakaway BSP group merged with the Samajwadi Party and Yadav managed to complete his term pending rounds of litigation- right from the Speaker’s court to the apex court.
Yadav could manage the political feat as the old anti-defection law in force during 2003 recognised split in a legislature party if one-third of its members defected. But the new anti-defection law could frustrate such attempts by any political party.
As the exit polls predict a hung assembly in the state, it would be difficult any of the three major political players - Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Bhartiya Janata Party - to a government on its own.
If the BSP manages to cross the 150 mark and the Congress too gets 25-30 seats in the new assembly, as forecast by pollsters, Mayawati could easily be in the saddle with the help of independents, who have emerged as king makers in the country’s coalition politics.
However, if the predictions fall short of the projections, two of the three players would have to shake hands to avoid political uncertainly in the state in the aftermath of the elections and to give a popular government to the electorate. But given the sharp ideological differences between the parties, it seems difficult and a remote possibility, though not completely ruled out in view of the past experience and political compulsions.
However, Uttar Pradesh legislators are capable of anything. Don’t be surprised if they beat even the new anti-defection law.