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What is Whip and what are its consequences?

As the political drama ensued in Maharashtra with a faction of Shiv Sena MLAs deflecting from the MVA government in the state, electoral Whip is once again in the centre of political discussions. With majority in Assembly slipping form the current state government, threat of loss of CM post is constantly looming over Mr. Uddhav Thackeray. Shiv Sena has issued whip on its party workers. We today will look at the concept of Whip and what could be its possible consequences if not followed!!

In the legislative assembly or house of parliament, a whip is a party official who serves as the party's "enforcer." Every major political party in India elects a whip who is in charge of the party's decorum and conduct in the House. A whip is a key party official in the Parliament or Legislative Assembly. The Chief Whip, who receives support from other Whips, is chosen by the parties from among the senior members of respective House contingents. The British parliamentary system gave the whip to India as a legacy. The party uses three different types of whips or directives.

1. One-line whip: To inform party members of a vote, a one-line whip is given. It gives a member the option to abstain if they choose not to support the party line.

2. Two-line whip: Members are instructed to be present in the House at the time of voting by means of a two-line whip.

3. Three-line whip: Members are given a three-line whip instructing them to vote along party lines.

If a legislator disobeys the party whip, disqualification proceedings may be initiated, unless there are at least 2/3 of the party's members in the house who are disobeying the whip. The Speaker makes the decision about disqualification. 

There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.


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