Karnataka crisis: What’s a ‘whip’, and what does it do?

  1. A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. In India all parties can issue a whip to their members.
  2. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip. The Chief Whip is assisted by additional Whips.
  3. There are three kinds of whips- a) one line whip, b) two line whip and c) three line whip.
  4. A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
  5. A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
  6. A three-line whip is employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.
  7. In India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk
  8. The anti-defection law, 1985, contained in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution allows the Speaker to disqualify such a member. The only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.