Sunday, November 28, 2010

Federalization of Indian Politics - The Contrast of "Federal BJP" & "Imperial Congress" ruled States

THE WEEK THAT WASN'T - My weekly Blah Blah on issues concerning the nation..ENJOY!
The week gone by was politically very significant in many ways. Political outcomes in 4 major states - Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka & Andhra may not seem very significant at the outset, but they are telling a much deeper story of changing POLITICAL GOVERNANCE AGENDA as to how 2 NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES are managing affairs of their STATE UNITs - Federal of BJP vs Imperial of Congress ....Read on....

While Nitish Kumar kept his CM's post by delivering on development & good governance agenda with a landslide electoral victory in Bihar, Karnataka CM, BS Yedyurappa, kept his seat by hoodwinking BJP central leadership.

On the other hand, in Andhra Pradesh, CM Rosaiah resigned & "High Command" appointed Kiran Kumar Reddy, to deliver on High Command's wish of countering YSR's legacy and his son's ambitions. Another "High Command" mandated change happened in Congress ruled Maharashtra, with Ashok Chavan shown the door, without even a whisper of dissent.

So here is the CONTRAST - BJP/NDA ruled States have STATE LEADERs running the SHOW & winning the elections, while Congress CMs are meekly following & delivering on High Command's wish.

So which model of governance is better for INDIA, FEDERAL style of BJP or IMPERIAL style of Congress.

Let's dig little deeper into the reasons for the emergence of these two opposing trends -

In Bihar, neither JD(U) nor BJP national leaders were relevant in this election. It was a Nitish show all the way. His image as a hard working CM of a development oriented government was the winning factor. Similarly, BJP state unit, under Sushil Modi, dictated the rules of the game to BJP's central leadership.

Similarly in Karnataka, BJP's central leadership, despite it's best efforts, could not persuade BSY to resign. He almost became a rebel, openly defying the leadership & finally keeping the CM's post. The reason for his confidence & defiance was simple - he had single handedly won the elections in Karnataka for BJP. BSY didn't need nor did central leaders of BJP have much appeal among the voters in Karnataka.

So, it is clear that if central leadership is not providing any electoral dividend, it is unlikely that state leadership is going to follow their diktat.

In case of BJP, gone are the days of "Atal Bihari Vajpayee & LK Advani" who had national appeal and were vote winners for the party. Today's central leadership of BJP is Delhi Centric with no grass root appeal. They are busy fighting among themselves for their territory & influence in Delhi's corridors of Power.

In absence of TOWERING NATIONAL LEADERs, STATE leaders are forced to think & fend for themselves to fight & win elections.

Which is not a bad thing after all, as this gives State Leadership a political dividend and an opportunity to run their states in a manner & policy, which will keep them in power & get them re-elected. They work hard & deliver on governance as they don't have to worry about HIGH COMMAND appointed puppet CM.

Modi in Gujarat, Shivaraj Singh in MP & Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh fought & got reelected on their own merit & development agenda, without much help from central leadership. This works well both for state leadership & people of the state, as CM comes back to power & people get good governance.

UNFORTUNATELY for CONGRESS, Gandhi family still has national face recognition & vote appeal.

Congress, over the years, has systematically worked to sideline any leader who was even remotely going to challenge Gandhis in appeal & popularity. This might have been smart strategy by Congress to keep "GANDHI Family" in-charge, but it has played havoc with Congress Ruled States & it's state leadership.

No Congress CM can be ambitious nor can he invest in his own political capital by doing good work as (s)he is unsure of his tenure as CM. He can't even take the credit for doing good work or winning the state election, as that honor is reserved ONLY for High Command. Congress CM is an appointed DUKE of the Royalty (High Command), not a LEADER of his people/state.

This explains the sorry state of affairs in Congress ruled states with no committed leadership or defined development agenda. Every CM is on a tight leash, serving his term at the mercy of High Command. He can't think long term nor can he invest into his own political capital.

However, there is one benefit of Congress style of High Command culture. You do not have CMs telling you to mind your own business like BSY did to BJP leadership. Ashok Chavan, followed the High Command's diktat like an obedient party worker as he owes his survival & stature as a politician, to Party High Command.

So which of the TWO political governance styles is better for our COUNTRY - "Federal structure of BJP" or the "Imperial culture of Congress"?

My Vote is for "FEDERAL" as it benefits people of the STATE as leadership invests into policies & governance agenda to get back to the power on their own merit.

Of course there are people like MAYAWATI - Federal & Imperial, All in One :).



  1. Regional politicians who become very powerful are more of a threat to the very fabric of federalism.Can anybody tell a Karunanidhi or a Mayawati to resign?It is not that A.Raja acted on his own.He had the tacit support of his leader.Likewise T R Baalu.Sharad pawar was as involved in the BCCI scam But then does anybody ask him to resign.Even the media does not do so because they know that there will be no response.If BSY does not resign what can anybody do even though there are serious charges of corruption and nepotism.If Ashok Chavan was not answerable to his party he would have also wanted to continue.Could anybody have forced him to resign except the constitutional method of no confidence? Whereas a congress functionary however big and powerful he maybe is bound by a general sense of righteousness and thus is made to give up office in larger public interest.For instance Shashi Tharoor.Nothing could have been proved against him.But the public perception was that some impropriety had taken place hence he had to go.Congress was not in favour of Jagan becoming the CM of Andhra eventhough after the death of YSR he had the numerical strength but for a 35 yr old inexperienced person it would have been a task and Congress did not want to take the chance of an important state being misruled.Hence the congress inspite of the threat of instability did not support the idea of jagan as the CM.If BJP was there they would have no say as they would be scared of losing a state as is happening in Karnataka. No leader of the central leadership of the BJP can ensure a victory of the party by his own image.Thus they have no authority to discipline an errant local leader however disturbing the conduct of that leader maybe. It is in the larger interest that discipline among the ruling class is enforced as the constitutional provisions are cumbersome and also susceptible. I do not agree that regional leaders of the congress are only the DUKE's as can be seen of Shiela Dikhsit and Ashok Gehlot.To a large extent they hold their own.Similar was the case with YSR. Basically the regional leaders need to be efficient and public perception of them needs to be good as is the case with Nitish Kumar and Shivraj singh.Then it does not matter much which party they belong to.

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