In the aftermath of the nail-biting Karnataka elections, the term ‘horse-trading’ has been used very frequently. The same trend was noticed following the Goa elections and the ones held in the North-East.
Horse |Photo Credit: TOI Archives
By Mayukh Majumdar, Mirror Now
In the aftermath of the nail-biting Karnataka elections, the term ‘horse-trading’ has been used very frequently. The same trend was noticed following the Goa elections and the ones held in the North-East. Hence, it is only natural for one to wonder what the term means. Does it mean the BJP and the Congress-JDS alliance are trading horses? No.
The term ‘horse-trading’ means bargaining of the extremely shrewd kind. Writing for The Hindu in 2002, P. Jaya Ramaiah and Khammam have this to say: “The two bargaining parties show an understanding of the problem and the negotiations are done in a clever manner. Shrewd bargaining is always involved in “horse-trading”. This is how the expression is being used in American English.”
The same term is used with some amount of disdain and disapproval by the British because it signifies that the bargaining is being done behind people’s backs and that multiple compromises and deals have been brokered to arrive at a consensus.
When used in the context of Indian politics, it is often alleged that two or more parties have come to an understanding after promises of money, ministries and other such things have been made. While some look at it as a deft political manoeuvre and praise the ‘Chanakya Niti’, yet others turn their noses down at what they believe to be some sort of power-grabbing at all costs.
India Today, in a report published on May 15, 2017, states that while horse-trading is not illegal constitutionally, it is seen as bribing of a kind. For example, while the Congress won 17 seats in Goa last year as opposed to the BJP’s 13, the saffron party swooped in and raised that number to 21 seats with support from other regional parties. Following this, the then VP of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi had accused the BJP of “stealing the mandate” in a complaint filed in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had then refused to put a stay on Manohar Parrikar’s oath-taking ceremony. Goans had even taken out protests against this alleged “buying” of MLAs and #NotMyCM had begun trending on social media.
“The term horse trading, which came into usage around 1820, owes its origin to the notorious shrewdness of horse traders who bought and sold horses. As per Macmillan English Dictionary, it means difficult and sometimes dishonest discussions between people who are trying to reach an agreement. In political parlance, it implies any long drawn-out negotiation characterised by hard bargaining and compromises. It frequently takes place in democratic institutions like legislative bodies when a parliamentarian or legislator supports some Bill or trust vote in exchange for support for one of his initiatives for another Bill or legislation,” said V K Handa to The Times of India in 2008.
There has been some eyebrow-raising regarding the post-poll alliance of the Congress and the JDS but the BJP does not seem to be getting much sympathy on social media where netizens are of the opinion that Karma has been served.