Friday, March 31, 2023

Guard against misuse of ‘double-engine govt’

The reality of a ‘Hindu-Rastra’ in the guise of electoral politics and development agenda should not be taken for granted
I am sure many of you are familiar with the term ‘double-engine-sarkar’ that has been widely used by the Narendra Modi led BJP government. To my knowledge this is POLITICAL MARKETING — to sell to the masses the benefit of having the same party or alliance ruling at the Centre and State.
With elections in Nagaland just around the corner let me share my understanding on this narrative of ‘double-engine-govt’ that is being promoted by the BJP and its allies and to guard against it misuse.
Firstly, irrespective of the party in power, one should not be misled into thinking that a favourable party govt at the Centre is needed for a state govt to get the full benefit of development and other resources due to it.
It should be made very clear that the rights of States is recognized by the constitution as is evident in the distribution of financial resources, sharing of taxes and the constitutionally binding grants recommended by the Finance Commission and also the grants-in-aid under Art 275.
And therefore it does not require that a State govt should run on a single or double engine. What really matters is to make use of whatever resource is made available and to govern well. The bottom-line is that development should not depend on political favours or allegiance to a particular party or belief system. The States in the Indian Union have their own autonomy and rights and should not be at the mercy of the Central govt in Delhi and neither should they be held ransom by the dictates of party or electoral politics.
Secondly, let’s hope that a ‘double-engine sarkar’ does not lead to economic dependency, political dictatorship and cultural/religious suppression. It will be interesting to see how the ‘double-engine NDPP-BJP alliance and government will play out if it comes back to power.
Our Chief Minister is already on record stating the rationale for the 40-20 seat sharing arrangement in favour of a bigger share for the NDPP was proposed by the BJP “to respect the sentiments of Christian-majority Nagaland’”. This move of the BJP is hardly surprising.
Our elected leaders, especially those in power will hopefully stand up to guard and protect the right of States. Nagaland in particular has been provided with certain safeguards (Art 371A) so that we can develop according to our own genius.
The reality of a ‘Hindu-Rastra’ in the guise of electoral politics and development agenda should not be taken for granted. We should not allow money power to be misused — to hold us captive to an alien culture and belief that is detrimental to our freedom and faith. It doesn’t matter who is ruling in Delhi. We should develop according to our own terms and needs without compromising. For us let’s build a strong and self-reliant Nagaland. Let us defend freedom, democracy and the rights guaranteed in the constitution.
Along Longkumer, Former Editor,
The Morung Express and
Convener of The Naga Rising

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