Vol 3, PW 7 (28 Apr 99) People & Policy

India may be a democracy, but the last three years show clearly that it is not a stable democracy.

The following breakdown illustrates how Indias brief experience with coalition government has failed:- DATE: 21 June 1991 - 16 May 1996 PARTY: Congress PRIME MINISTER: Narasimha Rao WHY IT FELL: Rao led minority government depends for survival on votes of defectors from the Jarkhand Mukhti Morcha (JMM) and Janata Dal parties. Bribes paid to JMM MPs.

Court case on-going. DATE: 16 May 1996 - 1 June 1996 (13 days) PARTY: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) PRIME MINISTER: Atal Behari Vajpayee WHY IT FELL: Elections with no clear majority.

BJP single largest party called to form new government. Vajpayee loses confidence vote and resigns before vote in Parliament.

DATE: 1 June 1996 - 21 April 1997 PARTY: United Front (Coalition) PRIME MINISTER: Deve Gowda (Janata Dal) WHY IT FELL: Coalition held hostage by Congress Party President Sita Ram Kesri and Communist parties. Government falls as Deve Gowda tries to split Congress.

Kesri gets revenge by pulling support. DATE: 21 April 1997 - 18 March 1998 PARTY: United Front (Coalition) PRIME MINISTER: Inder Kumar Gujral (Janata Dal) WHY IT FELL: Congress withdraws support following publication of Jain Commission report on assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

Jain accuses United Front member DMK of links with Rajivs killers. DATE: 19 March 1998 - to 19 April 1999 (13 months) PARTY: BJP led coalition PRIME MINISTER: Atal Behari Vajpayee WHY IT FELL: Government held hostage by 18 MPs belonging to most hated politician in India, Jayaram Jayalalitha.

She withdraws support and government loses vote of confidence by one vote.