To be or not to be
With a third front comprising state representations sans the national giants, who will give up their state and head the nation?
The semblance of contrasting duality that is dominating the national politics today with BJP and Congress consolidating their respective brigades for the 2019 general election, it is pertinent to internalise that a national party, besides having its presence across various states, serves a greater democratic purpose. While the pervasive glimpse of Indian Politics viewed from New Delhi is but broad guidelines for states to function along, Central decrees do not mean to dilute the basic character of a state. The entitlement of each state to be represented as it is in Parliament is precisely with the intent to prevent any kind of exclusivity of perspective and decision that will generalise the Indian Union.
Given the distinctness of their respective domains, the dynamics of state politics is as unique as the functioning of Central politics. To mitigate the polarity of politics emanating from New Delhi, the proposed third front exclusive of BJP and Congress is a requisite entity. It will have greater parliamentary significance than electoral and add more dimensions to governance, making our democracy more inclusive and vibrant. This third front should essentially reduce the vacuum from not having an effective and united opposition. It will also serve the crucial purpose of giving due attention to events and occurrences in the states that function without the banner of the Central establishment. It is a common anomaly in this country that any distressing concern of a state is nationalised only if either the situation has compounded to pitiful extents, or if there is a dominant political representation in the Centre. A third front composed of state representations sans the national giants will counter-balance this lop-sided image of national politics.
The obscurity regarding the next possible Prime Ministerial candidate who will not be from the Congress' fold has some implicit connotations that run contrary to the near-ideal situation discussed for the national scene. The stronghold a politician gains in a state is the product of their efforts and influence in the state. When a Chief Minister rises to the position of Prime Minister, his arena of functioning, influence, and accountability change massively. This also implies that their domain of accomplishments will have to be considerably forgone, and being allowed back into this space as the same person is never quite a possibility. This aspect lends a point for Congress to consolidate its hold afresh to establish itself in New Delhi.
India is a federal polity with a unitary bias. In a perfect situation, national and state politics ought to function in tandem. Structurally, they function by the common principles of a secular democracy, where the majority will prevail and the minority will be respected. The ultimate aim will be effective governance and general welfare for all. It is obvious for regional parties to be more popular than national parties, as seen in many states. In that case, unlike the situation being witnessed now, the national party could be a competent opposition and contribute to keeping in balance the work and performance of the state government. Likewise, the presence of state representation in Parliament will give greater collective relevance to Parliamentary decisions, particularly those pertaining to cultural matters or those decisions that have a bearing on state-specific trends and practices.
Currently, the disagreement among state leaders over including Congress in this proposed third front hints a likelihood of leading back to square one where the national scene will be dominated by two opposing political entities, each intending to prevail over the other. With the presence of a third group in the scenario, discussions can be expected to be better counter-balanced and more holistic. But, for a formidable figure of international recognition, West Bengal Chief Minister's reluctance to part with Congress to unite against BJP is indicative of an intention to prioritise her state over the nation. So, then, who will give up their state and head the nation?
(The author is Senior Copy Editor with Millennium Post. The views are strictly personal)