Livemint wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe
Subscribe
My Reads e-paper Newsletters IFSC Code Finder New MintGenie
Subscribe
OPEN APP
Home >Opinion >Quick Edit >Fraught federalism

Fraught federalism

Premium
Charanjit Singh Channi

Yet, while party supremacy on political and policy stances must prevail, a practical reason for decentralized decisions was to let democratic choices flow from the bottom upwards and get a closer ear to the ground

Listen to this article
Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

The unedifying circumstances around the exit of Amarinder Singh of the Congress as chief minister of Punjab, replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi, can be viewed in the wider context of a reversal of a coalition-era trend in politics of power decentralization to states. It was taking us closer to the ideal of a federalist structure envisaged by the Constitution, but our political arena now has echoes of the 1970s and ’80s in state-level mid-term shuffles. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has switched chief ministers in many states and Singh’s loss of legislative backing cannot just be traced to intra-Congress developments in Chandigarh alone.

The unedifying circumstances around the exit of Amarinder Singh of the Congress as chief minister of Punjab, replaced by Charanjit Singh Channi, can be viewed in the wider context of a reversal of a coalition-era trend in politics of power decentralization to states. It was taking us closer to the ideal of a federalist structure envisaged by the Constitution, but our political arena now has echoes of the 1970s and ’80s in state-level mid-term shuffles. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has switched chief ministers in many states and Singh’s loss of legislative backing cannot just be traced to intra-Congress developments in Chandigarh alone.

Perhaps our coalition phase from 1989 till recently was an aberration. Analysts attribute the rise in central authority to the return of single-party dominance, this time with the BJP on top. The way party clout works, constitutional violations are not needed for parties to effect the changes they want. Legislators, after all, are party members. Yet, while party supremacy on political and policy stances must prevail, a practical reason for decentralized decisions was to let democratic choices flow from the bottom upwards and get a closer ear to the ground.

Perhaps our coalition phase from 1989 till recently was an aberration. Analysts attribute the rise in central authority to the return of single-party dominance, this time with the BJP on top. The way party clout works, constitutional violations are not needed for parties to effect the changes they want. Legislators, after all, are party members. Yet, while party supremacy on political and policy stances must prevail, a practical reason for decentralized decisions was to let democratic choices flow from the bottom upwards and get a closer ear to the ground.

Subscribe to Continue Reading

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!