The question of federalism and Centre-State relations has been on many people’s minds lately, given that the Centre in the Modi dispensation has been hell bent on usurping the powers of the states while slyly thrusting all responsibility on to their shoulders. As a matter of fact, it was precisely during the outbreak of Covid19, when there should have been maximum cooperation between the Centre and the States, that the strains started showing in a glaring manner. Very early on, it became clear that the Centre was intent upon using the pandemic to usurp more and more powers, while riding roughshod not only on the rights of ordinary citizens but also of the States. In dealing with the pandemic, not only were the mandatory consultations with the States not held, they were in fact simply handed over decisions. The most dramatic of all these, of course, was the completely bizarre manner in which the Lockdown was declared last year, at just four hours notice. The huge tragedy that followed was totally avoidable had there been prior consultations and had the Prime Minister, just for one moment, behaved like one. As a matter of fact, the record of this government over the past seven years has been pretty consistent in this regard at least. Continue reading Why Federalism Must Become the Fulcrum Of Politics In Coming Days→
All who did and most who did not support the Chief Minister are in mourning, in some form or another. J. Jayalalithaa is no more. A cinema star-turned-leader, whose determination in the face of massive adversity had won her the titles of ‘Iron Butterfly’ and ‘Revolutionary Leader’, Jayalalithaa captured the imagination as a woman not necessarily of the people, but certainly with the people as a ubiquitous presence and force in political and popular life. It’s hard to fathom the Tamil landscape with the knowledge that all of those portraits of the leader no longer point back to a living, sentient being. The outpouring of emotion she commanded in life and now in death never cease to amaze those do not have a feel for how the political and popular affect have been collapsed into one another, for better and for worse. Without getting into the task of proving the sincerity of sentiment leading some to go so far as to take their own lives in acts of political devotion, or the opposite and equally misguided one of showing that those who participate in public displays of mourning are doing so because of some culture of political ‘sycophancy’ as it is often dubbed, we must shift the terms of debate on the nature of her power while appreciating the massive loss Tamil Nadu has sustained with her passing.