Indian voters recognize the importance of the Union of India in the country’s political and constitutional order. They recognize that running a central government may require different skills and ideological commitments than running a state government. They carefully distinguish between two sets of choices. But they are also, often, fundamentally guided and shaped by their experiences living in their own states and local geographies. They have an emotional attachment to parties that represent their regional pride. And they don’t like it when they feel that these regional parties are treated unfairly, or when concerns that are directly related to their welfare are ignored, or when unions run The political ambitions of the party dominate all. Other factors including national security. And so voters want a careful balance between the Union and the states and want to see the national political scene incorporate concerns and voices from below.

Voters want a careful balance between the Union and the states and want to see the national political landscape include concerns and voices from below. (PTI)

This is the basic mandate in the 2024 decision when it comes to federalism and the Centre-State relationship. In this context, examine how federalism developed during this period.

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For the past ten years, the BJP has run the central government on a stated plank of encouraging cooperative competitive federalism. But due to a set of political and policy initiatives, the nature of Centre-State relations has changed. Politically, the BJP is an expansionist and deeply ambitious party, and that in itself is not wrong. But this ambition has often resulted in clashes with regional organizations zealously trying to protect their territory. These non-BJP forces see the BJP as a particularly strong cohesive force that will not stop until it captures all the political space in its respective states.

This political conflict has taken on a political color, or alternatively, policy battles have taken on a political color because of this competitive streak, especially when states are run by parties that are not affiliated with the BJP. . Abolition of Planning Commission; The construction of the Goods and Services Tax system and the promises made and not made during this regime. the exceptional role of the Center in the public finances of the States; Extension of centralized schemes into domains previously viewed as states. And the growing tension between the northern and eastern states on the one hand and the southern and western states on the other has affected this relationship. In particular, North-South tensions have taken a particularly bitter tone at times, especially in the walk-up to the demarcation exercise expected to take place in the next few years.

It is in this context that the decision of 2024 needs to be reviewed.

The BJP has done reasonably well in a set of key states where it has traditionally been strong in Lok Sabha elections, most of which are also run by BJP state governments (MP, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Bihar) but some of which are led. By non-BJP formations (Karnataka, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh). The BJP, either on its own or in coalition, has won in states where it was not particularly strong in the context of state or Lok Sabha politics (Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and to a lesser extent , Kerala). And then there are states where the BJP has failed (Maharashtra, West Bengal, UP, Manipur), or not achieved as much as it would have liked (Tamil Nadu).

By itself, this messy political scenario with strong regional variation in outcomes does not lend itself to clean outcomes. But three features are interesting for the future.

In the case of Maharashtra, one of the main reasons for the BJP’s relative failure is the perception that it attacked the integrity and unity of two strong regional formations, both closely related to the state’s regional ambitions. The performance of the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena should not only be read as a political message, but also a message to the BJP that the political battles between Delhi and the state are divided. can increase which has a deep sense of its own historical identity. As the former chief minister of one such state in Maharashtra’s neighbourhood, Narendra Modi is attuned to this sentiment and may want to be more conscious of it.

In the case of the South in general, the good news is that the BJP sees itself as a serious stakeholder in the politics of various states there. This is good news because it means that the party has more at stake politically to deal with the issue of both financial distribution and political demarcation more sensitively than if it were a party based only in North India. It would have been and it would not have been desired. Spread elsewhere. That doesn’t mean the job will be easy. This does not mean that such a sensitive task is the responsibility of the BJP alone. But the verdict has shown the BJP that its power and presence and its ambitions and interests in the region depend on how it balances its cultural politics with the aspirations of the various regions of the South, now. It also fulfills its constitutional obligations. As far as finance and representation are concerned.

And finally, a message from Manipur. There is no greater failure of the BJP’s internal security record than the crisis in Manipur, where ethnic divisions have taken on a strong regional dimension, where state collapse and state failure are stark, where the Union has taken its responsibility. Dari has been abandoned, and where India’s Act East. The policy has met its doom. A major cause of this crisis is the BJP’s political decision to back one side to the other, a particular form of majoritarian politics to prioritize the protection of its state government and the party’s chief minister over a simple reconciliation process. Support the The BJP has lost both seats in Manipur, either because it failed to win over the Maitis it was supporting, or the tribals. And this itself is perhaps the most important message from one corner of the country to Delhi – national unity, national security and ethnic harmony and harmony must be prioritized over the party’s short-term calculations.

As he prepares to lead a coalition government, including strong regional allies, the BJP is looking to reshuffle its federal playbook.

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