DailyPost 1820

The Chief Minister of a State is by far the most important position in the constitutional scheme of things of having an executive head of territory (state), with which he is completely conversant with. He would for sure know the political landscape in its entirety but also the history, society, culture, economy, trade etc. More importantly he would have battled any number of frictions, fissures, resource crunches, law and order issues, management of finances and projects, and would have learned pretty well how to work in the interest of the state. He would also know how to deal with both the central government and also the party’s central leadership. He would certainly not be a green horn. He has to be a visionary planner, executioner and a Man Friday of the state.

Each state needs only one such person at any point in time. Leaders who would have performed in an illustrious manner on this hot seat would later be *an asset at the federal level, and in many other politically and administratively important positions across the country. The synthesis of political and executive acumen would always remain a sought-after expertise in the country. If they remain in the state they guide future governments, public policy, society, movements, think tanks and what not. CM remains the most important link in cooperative federalism and It’s fate depends on the practice of this concept both in word and spirit. What has been the fate of cooperative federalism is something for which the jury is still out.

The CM is the head of the legislature party and has at least half the legislators in his favor. Given the job description and constitutional utility, it is important that a person of such stature should adorn the post and having gained that position should have capability, intuition, hard work, guts and courage to deliver without fear or favor. The history of the country will not bail out these positions on this count. In recent years whatever might be the party, the granting of CM’s position seems to be a largesse handed over by the Party High Command and would continue to be in that position, till their pleasure lasts. Earlier also such instances were not rare. All criteria but for the ones enumerated above come into play.

Even the cabinet is not of his choice. How do you work with a team which is not yours? Dissent and disaffection have been the order of the day. Whatever is the truncated role left after all this, is further negated by the lust of winning the subsequent election. The Indian political class is not ready to accept that govt’s satisfactory delivery can bring them back to power. On the exactly opposite  side of the CM imbroglio are the regional satraps, the one state party, with the Super CMs who run their states like their won fiefdom. Some are in between and some need to ally with the bigger parties either in the center or the states for political gains. But the fact of matter is that hardly anything in today’s political and executive functioning brings glory to the CMs position and it will take some time to resurrect the most critical constitutional post of our basic structure of cooperative federalism.


Sanjay Sahay

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