Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been pretty vocal about center-state relations during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. When Modi became the Prime Minister he gave new impetus to center-state relations and called for a renewal of team spirit by coining the term “Team India” and Team India in the context meant the central government and the state governments put together. States welcomed this, especially the non-BJP ruled states.
Words aside, actions have barely reflected any team spirit. The recent instances include the constitutional crisis arising out of poaching of MLAs and for other reasons in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The Arunachal & Uttarakhand, not surprisingly are non- BJP ruled states. However, the judiciary brought those unsavory episodes to its logical conclusion.
There is another centre-state tussle which is going on right in the capital New Delhi where the police come under the control of the Home Ministry and bills prepared by the state government need the approval of the Lt Governor. The multi-polar power situation in Delhi has resulted in a political warfare unfolding in the heart of policy making. The Delhi government in the recent days have been rocked by the arrest of MLAs under various charges. The arrest of MLAs had happened earlier also before the Court quashed the charges and castigated the Delhi police for the false charges. Time will tell about the veracity of the charges which led to the arrest of MLAs in recent times.
Do we look like Team India?
The strain in center – state relations politically has been very frequent. Political differences are often squared on co-operation on crucial issues. Compare this with the Vajpayee era where he had shared the dais with Sheila Dixit for inaugurating the construction of the metro and his words roughly translate to”we might differ politically but when it comes to development we are on the same page”. Do we witness such camaraderie recently? Sadly no. At a ministerial-level, there is tremendous hard work put in by Mr. Piyush Goyal, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, and others in discussing various issues with states and evolving a consensus. Yet, center – state relations which have evolved post – 2014 have not lived up to the Team India doctrine.