DailyPost 2599

There is barely any research work on the functioning of Indian democracy from the point of view of how much we have strayed from the constitutional mandate on which we are bound to function. If we are not in position to take an objective and an empirical view of this trajectory, might be we will never be able to come back to the path, we should have taken in the first place itself. The founding fathers of the nation wanted the union of states that is India to run on the principles of cooperative federalism.

They could never imagine that it could ever be vitiated. It was for them a pure democratically functional formula of running this nation, a formula that would never fail. The areas they defined, they presumed were outside the political parameters and would run on a purely objective legislative and governance objectives. The country has a CEO and the states have their own CEOs tied together working under this umbrella of cooperative federalism. It is difficult at least not public knowledge, when PM and all the CMs worked as one integrated team for growth, development, planning or managing a crisis situation. The functioning of this team above and beyond any fractious parameters is at the core of success of cooperative federalism and that of the nation.

The ideal, classical, functional and way beyond the practical have created their own variants of democracy, in every area of its functioning and cooperative federalism in no different. Whether the country ever worked on copybook model, I would not be able to comment but for sure it has not been in vogue for a long time. From President’s rule of yesteryears to the role of the governors, it has been a nagging issue which would flare at times beyond control. Leaving aside the initial years after independence, when the democratic landscape started having different political parties in power, issues started. When one political party was in power everywhere, naturally, the party would have been sufficient any recalcitrant elements.

While fissures have been experienced for a long time; political, judicial and other battles have been fought on this front. There have been allegations of partiality and favouritism when state governments do not belong to the party in power at the centre . Nonetheless, we have slowly been moving towards democratic balkanisation, where the centre and states governed by the same party becomes one block and others broken depending on the basis of political parties in power and their political leanings. There could be stalemate on anything; government formation / role of governor, assent to bills after being passed by the legislature, even floods and air quality crisis as in the case of Delhi, appointments, the role of speaker, literally anything. We have found court battles frequently on this count, even during the second wave of Covid. With the change of party in power the nature of the balkanisation of the state too changes. A broken country of this count can be a bottleneck to every single thing that could bring in positive and proactive change.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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