Mamata Banerjee's remarks on PM and Spirit of Federalism

TMC a test case

The recent dare by Mamata Banerjee of TMC for the PM to arrest her, advising him to stay within limits and going on to say should we arrest the PM does pose a long ignored but fundamental question: is the Federal structure of India helping us or disaggregating India?

While the CBI has invited questions on its credibility and neutrality over the years (and we know which party ruled this country for six decades), it is well within its capacity to investigate, detain and prosecute in cases they pursue. Now when Mamata Banerjee who has been elected as the Chief Minister of West Bengal and took oath under the Constitution (administered by the Governor who is a Presidential appointee) threatens the PM to arrest her or stay within his limits, is she not violating tenets of her oath as well as the chair of the CM? Contrast this with the decade long persecution of Narendra Modi himself (prior to being ELECTED PM) and that of Amit Shah (the first state home minister to be arrested perhaps), did the BJP state that they will protest in the Parliament? They did fight but not like a street upstart! And when she says that should we arrest the PM (some photo with Sahara group), one must ask the question: in what capacity? Has the Constitution provided powers to a State CM to arrest the PM of the Country?

One cannot but feel sorry for the citizens of Bengal who took decades to escape clutches of the violent communist regime only to find themselves at the mercy of TMC cadre who even clashed with the cops outside the Alipore court to protest the arrest of Madan Mitra. Even cops are not recognized as Law! Not to mention Mamata failing to censure disgusting behaviour of her party leaders threating rivals with Rape, wanting to slap the PM and so on. Advising the PM to stay within limits is like the Young Amitabh Bachchan threatening a Don! This is rank illiteracy and brazenness on daily display! The Constitution clearly defines the role of the Centre, State and what are concurrent subjects.

Let's move to the State of UP, again a case where hopes of several were dashed when Akhilesh Yadav took UP from primitive state of affairs to the Stone Age. Complete disdain towards women, brazen comments on Rape to complete lawlessness are hall marks of this State now. Every time the MHA asks for action or reports, the familiar refrain of Law & order being a State subject is brought up. Not to mention State police being asked to hunt for Azam Khan’s (a Minister!) missing Buffalo's and claiming Taj to be a Wakf Property!

The announcement of the PM to disband the Planning Commission so that a new forward looking body can be set up to meet the needs of India as it stands now and for the future again has been met with such petty objections by some States, that it again raises questions on whether Federalism is a license to treat State as fiefdoms and stop looking at the Country as a whole aggregate? The structure of the new body and its charter will be done in consultation with States is the stated position and the first meeting to brainstorm was recently held. It is almost a reality that if a State is not ruled by the same party as that at the Centre, the State will oppose! But the same States will ask the Centre to keep funding them to recover from natural calamities, providing special packages reducing the Centre a modern day Santa Claus! 

Tamil Nadu for every parochial reason does not want the Indian Government to pursue a logical foreign policy with Sri Lanka for historically emotive community issues. A State can raise issues but if a State expects the Country’s foreign policy to be held hostage to State specific irrational issues, then we do have a problem.

The Union Government (read Centre) does need to work overtime to undo the trust deficit built over years but time has come to ask the question: are we mature enough for a Federal Structure? A cursory look at newspapers over the years will convey the impression that Centre and States are adversaries and this has set the motion for disaggregating India. States are but a subset of the Country which is India and we would expect every elected CM to have the capability and vision to look at the best interests of India while serving the State, not the other way around.

The United States Constitution has a Supremacy Law:

The Supremacy Clause is the provision in Article Six, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution that establishes the United States Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties as 'the supreme law of the land.' It provides that these are the highest form of law in the United States legal system, and mandates that all State judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either a State Constitution or State law of any State.

In matters of Economy (controlling Inflation included), Internal & External Security, Corruption, Infrastructure and upholding constitutional probity both in words and action perhaps need a supremacy clause to come into force if we have to prevent the cacophony of Indian federalism to continue to disaggregate India!

Courtesy Niti Central



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