Role of Opposition

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Role of Opposition Parties in Democracy:

Benjamin Disraeli's dictum that "no government can long be secure without a formidable Opposition" has been found by experience to be quite true and fully valid. Wherever the parliamentary system of government has been established, the importance of a healthy, effective, vigilant and wide awake Opposition has been fully realised.

The British Parliament is commonly acknowledged to be the "Mother of Parliaments". It has also been the best model of a system where the Opposition is officially recognised as His (or Her) Majesty's Opposition.

The largest minority party constitutes the official Opposition in the British Parliament, with its own leader and its own council, popularly known as the "Shadow Cabinet". The leader of the Opposition in Britain (and in most parliamentary democracies around the world) is accorded official recognition and provided several facilities to enable him to function adequately. He is regarded as the future Prime Minister, since his party, especially in Britain, offers a viable alternative to the government of the day.

The common belief that a healthy Parliamentary opposition is essential for the sound working of democracy implies that unless there is a vigilant opposition, constantly on the alert and ever watchful of the government's policies and actions, the ruling party would tend to get complacent and tardy. But, when there are well-informed critics, ever ready to expose the wrongs committed by the government, and to bring to light its acts of omission and commission, the ruling party can hardly afford to be slack and negligent in the performance of its duty towards the country—namely, to provide an efficient and sound administration.

The parliamentary system of government works very smoothly where there are two principal political parties, more or less equally matched, the one out of power ever ready to take over the reins of the administration whenever the majority...
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