Do you know what is horse trading?

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We all are familiar with the word horse trading though it seems that this word is related to buying and selling of horses but in reality it does not have any relation with trading of horses.

According toThe Cambridge Dictionary this word means clever, and often difficult, discussions in which people or organizations try to make a business arrangement, and each tries to get something more favourable to them.

In British English, the term is normally used to show disapproval. It carries with it the sense that the negotiations are unofficial. There is also the implication that too many compromises have been made to arrive at some sort of an agreement. Here are a few examples.

The MLAs were involved in a lot of political horse-trading to arrive at a consensus candidate.

In American English the word refers to Shrewd bargaining.

Let’s see the meaning of horse-trading in Indian context:

When political parties resort to unscrupulous ways to lure members from another party to put together the majority required to form a government. Sometimes the defectors are rewarded with plum ministerial berths, often with sumptuous monetary gains.

President A P J Abdul Kalam in his speech to Parliament this February, said legislative seats won through allegedly dubious and undemocratic means, have many a time created doubts about our democratic system in the public eye.

Notorious incident of Haryana MLA Gaya Lal

In 1967, when the first non-Congress governments were formed in Haryana, MLA Gaya Lal managed to switch to, and back from, the United Front thrice in 15 days — one crossover happened within just nine hours. When he finally rejoined the Congress, Congress leader Rao Birender Singh produced him at a press conference and announced, “Gaya Ram is now Aya Ram.”

JMM bribery case:
On July 28, 1993, 10 MPs belonging to the JMM and the Janata Dal cast their votes to defeat a no-confidence motion moved in the Lok Sabha against the minority government of P.V. Narasimha Rao.
The CBI filed criminal cases against them saying they had received bribes to do so. Since under Article 105(2) of the Constitution of India, no member of Parliament can be made liable to any proceedings in any court with respect to any vote given by him in Parliament, the Supreme Court dismissed all cases against them.

The Anti-Defection law:
The anti-defection law was passed by parliament in 1985. Twenty-five years down the road, it is pertinent to trace the several modifications and to evaluate how well the law has worked.

The 52nd amendment to the Constitution added the Tenth Schedule which laid down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection. A member of parliament or state legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip. Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.

The law also made a few exceptions. Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted that post. A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger. The law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.

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