Federalism In India

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The framers of the Indian Constitution were keen on federalism as a functional instrument for the creation of an Indian nation and a strong, cohesive state. The leading politicians of the immediate post-Independence state were besieged by threats to India’s security both from outside and inside, and faced the challenge of development through having perceived and chosen centralized economic planning as an optimal method by which to reach that objective. Thus, both for constitutional and political reasons, the institutionalization of a strong federalism in the Indian system appear to have been seriously compromised from the outset. Nonetheless, the political process has been able to adapt to this design and in many, though not all, cases mollify…show more content…
He took the chief ministers (all of whom, with rare exceptions, were members of the Indian National Congress (INC), the party of which he was for part of this period the President and, of all this period, leader of the parliamentary party) seriously enough to write to each of them every month in an effort to keep them informed of the state of the nation and the world, and to solicit their opinion in an attempt to build a national consensus. The INC, which had already embraced the federal principle back in the 1920s by organizing itself on the basis of Provincial congress committees based on linguistic regions, institutionalized the principle of consultation, accommodation and consensus through a delicate balancing of the factions with the ‘Congress System’ (Kothari 1970). It also practised the co-optation of local and regional leaders in the national power structure, and the system of sending out Congress ‘observers’ from the Centre to mediate between warring factions in the provinces, thus simultaneously ensuring the legitimacy of the provincial power structure in running its own…show more content…
No longer could an imperious Congress Prime Minister afford to ‘dictate’ benevolently to a loyal Congress Chief Minister. However, even as the tone became more contentious, the essential principles of accommodation and consultation held between the crucial 1967-69 periods of transition. The congress dominated Centre began cohabiting with opposition parties at the regional level. The balance was lost once the Congress party split (1969), and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi took to the strategy of radical rhetoric and strong centralized personal leadership. In consequence, the regional accommodation, which had been possible by way of the internal federalization of the Congress Party, was subsequently eroded. However, after the authoritarian interlude of 1975-77, which, in both law and fact, reduced India’s federal system to pretty much a unitary state, the system reverted to the earlier stage of tenuous cooperation between the Centre and the

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