The Congress party’s perversion of federalism, secularism and the constitution risks undermining national security
The good news from the Congress party’s shenanigans is that the people of the state of Jammu & Kashmir have less reason to believe that they alone had been at the receiving end of New Delhi’s political confidence tricks in the past. The Congress party’s brand of manipulative politics tramples upon such things as constitutional niceties, federal principles and democratic principles all over India.
While India’s democratic system has managed to prevail over the Congress party’s brazen attempts to seize power after the recent state elections, the conduct of India’s main political formations had no redeeming features at all.
The Congress party’s shadowy political fixers used the office of the state governor as a front to carry out the hatchet job of turning accepted precedents on head. In the process it struck a body blow on federalism, challenging the constitutional right of states to elect their own governments. And while it goes around donning the mantle of the custodian of secular politics, the Congress party has shown no compunction in using the religious card in Jharkhand, a state with deep-rooted social divisions. And by the way, the candidate it is backing for the chief-ministership once went underground after being charged with murder.
Given such flagrant violations of constitutional norms, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main victim, was justified in crying foul. But it appears that disrupting parliamentary proceedings is the only trick in its book. While it has every right to raise the issue in parliament, its strategy of creating chaos makes a mockery of the constitution, besides wasting time at taxpayer’s expense. Indeed, with the repeated failure of the BJP to take its role as the opposition seriously, it has begun to look less like an alternative party of governance, than a rag-tag bunch of rabble-rousers.
Institutions like the election commission and the Supreme Court exist to handle constitutional disputes. The BJP would do well to seek recourse to these routes and begin to take itself seriously as a party that assists governance.
As for the Congress, it is sparking off a whole new series of events that could ultimately result in new challenges to national security. On one hand its dalliance with Naxalites has already set the clock back in the battle against terrorism. On the other, the line that begins with subverting state governments risks ending with insurgencies and struggles for ‘self-determination’. In India’s contemporary political battlefields, the adherents of socialism, communalism and secularism find it all too easy to trample down on federalism: as history has shown, this is not without undesirable consequences.