Federalism a mere ploy and no more

Federalism a mere ploy and no more

Federalism a mere ploy and no more


For any keen observer of Indian politics and politicians 'diversity in unity' seems to be the guiding principle of their political pursuits.

For any keen observer of Indian politics and politicians 'diversity in unity' seems to be the guiding principle of their political pursuits. On and off, our regional parties suddenly realise that federalism is under threat due to the self-centred policies of the national party ruling the country. We have seen several formulations in the past that came into being only to wither away soon.

Largely, it is the national party-led alliances that survived longer periods. Regional parties on their own cannot come together and form an alternative grouping without the support of one or the other national party. Congress has a nasty habit of bringing down governments with which it enters into alliances thus. For now, the BJP has earned the wrath of regional parties for its 'use and throw' policy. This has angered many regional allies which walked out of the NDA alliance like the Shiv Sena and SAD. Now that the Congress has weakened considerably, the regional satraps seem to have become somewhat ambitious. The talk of a third front is once again being heard in the political circles and media now.

Some of the Chief Ministers of the Opposition-ruled States are discussing the need for waging a united stand to defend federalism. The talk of federalism is just a facade. Because, it is common knowledge that there are far more compelling reasons for these Chief Ministers to talk the anti-Modi talk. They presume that attacking Modi is a sure way to secure all anti-Modi votes. How come these Chief Ministers suddenly wake up to the compulsions of democracy? Today, Mamata talks of the dangers to democracy and the next day, its KCR's turn. Shiv Sena keeps pestering the BJP and the DMK does not let go an opportunity to attack Modi.

No doubt, federalism and Centre-State relations are under strain, particularly under the second term of Modi. The States are being deprived of the Constitutionally mandated devolution of resources under several pretexts such as surcharges and cesses on petroleum products by the Centre. The Finance Commission, too, is working to please the Centre. Several investigative agencies are being misused. The Governors have become partisan and are being accused of being the agents of the Centre. The latter is also amending the rules of Civil Service that would empower the Centre to arbitrarily recall officers from the States to Centre wherein the State would have no role.

At this juncture, the moves of the Opposition-ruled CMs puzzle us as their fight does not seem to be focused exclusively on federalism and the rights of the States. It is more to offer an alternative alliance that they are talking about. A federal front could be understood easily by the people. But, an alliance wherein every CM wants to be the Prime Minister sounds ridiculous. The Communists have been advocating a broad unity on the question of the Centre's onslaught against federalism for long. A beginning has to be made, but it should be in the right direction. Vote-bank politics alone cannot bind these disparate politicians who have scant regard for democratic principles anyway. BJP finds comfort in this factor alone.

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