Last week’s Supreme Court order restoring the Congress regime in Arunachal Pradesh — coming in close proximity to a similar judgment in the Uttarakhand case — has provided additional political fodder to satraps of regional parties to raise the federalism debate ahead of the significant assembly elections scheduled next year in states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
Realising that the forum of parliament provides an ideal opportunity to them to sharpen their political tools against the incumbent NDA government before the dust and grime of canvassing on the ground, leaders of parties are working out stratagems for possible floor management on issues of common concern in the monsoon session.
The Arunachal development figured at the Saturday’s meeting of the inter-state council, with chief ministers of Opposition-ruled states taking on the government for its “misadventure” in the tiny Northeastern state. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar even put up a demand that the post of governors be abolished.
While the ruling combine has taken on a majority of regional parties on board as regards the Goods and Services Tax (GST) issue, the government can hardly take their support for granted on other issues — particularly in the run-up to the intensely political season ahead.
While the NDA enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha, the ruling combine continues to be in minority status in the Upper House, where it has to depend heavily on the support of regional parties and smaller groups.
Although the regional parties are driven by regional political considerations — which are often at cross purposes from one another — the fact also is that they have done business together in the past and retain the flexibility to come together against a common political adversary.
“The Left, SP and JD (U) will put up a joint front against the BJP in the monsoon session”, JD (U) leader K C Tyagi said. Mohammed Salim (CPI-M) echoed the view, saying that the “Opposition parties would put up a united stand on issues of common concern”.