Indictment of multi-party parliamentary democracy
On 16th September, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu and 42 MLAs of the Congress party in Arunachal Pradesh walked out of the Congress Party and joined the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA). Only one MLA – NabamTuki, the previous Chief Minister, remained in the Congress Party. The PPA is a member of the North East Democratic Alliance, a political coalition formed by the Bharatiya Janata Party which includes various regional parties of the North East.The North East Democratic Alliance in turn is part of the NDA (the National Democratic Alliance) led by the BJP which is ruling at the center.
This drama of en-masse party change has come about at the end of two years of tug-of-war between the Congress and BJP. The Congress Party had secured a majority of seats in the 60 member state assembly and formed the government when elections were held in April-May 2014. Ever since then, the BJP government at the Centre, has been trying to bring down the Arunachal Pradesh government by engineering defections. Its aim has been to establish a government in the state under its control. This is part of its plan to establish governments led by the BJP or its alliesin all the North Eastern states.
The BJP’s first attempt to engineer defections from the Congress began in June 2015. Between June and December 2015, defections from the Congress were engineered and with the help of the Governor, a parallel Assembly session was organized, to throw out the then chief ministerNabamTuki. While this open dog-fight between the two parties was going on, and the matter was before the Supreme Court, the Central Government recommended imposition of President’s Rule, which was accepted by the President on 26thJanuary, 2016. However, in July, the Supreme Court ordered restoration of the NabamTuki led Congress government in the State. The Governor asked NabamTuki to prove his majority in the house. It was clear that he would lose the vote of confidence in the house. In such a situation, the Congress Party maneuveredto bring back all the defectors into the legislature party and set up a defector, Pema Khanduas the new Chief Minister.And now Khandu has walked out on the Congress with almost the entire legislature party!
While BJP lost that round of the fight, it has won the latest round through successfullyorganisingen-masse defection from the Congress to the PPA.
The Congress has described the new government as an “illegitimate child of BJP” and blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for the “diabolical design to decimate democracy”. According to the Congress’ chief spokesman“Gross and rampant misuse of money power finally delivered an immoral government of opportunists and turncoats.The mandate of the people of Arunachal Pradesh, who voted Congress party to power, has been robbed in broad daylight”.
All the years the Congress was at the centre, it toppled and set up state governments at will. Today, the BJP is following the same route, and the Congress is complaining about the “lack of democracy and people’s mandate”!
The events in Arunachal Pradesh reflect the fact that the central government treats various state governments with a thoroughly colonial outlook. This is most glaring in the case of smaller states, such as the North Eastern states, where the central state does not even make a pretense of this.
Whichever party has been in the central government, has tried to use the stranglehold of the central state over finances, as well as bribery of MLA’s to engineer defections and establish governments aligned with it. As the new Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu himself is reported to have said, the governments in the North Eastern states are totally at the mercy of the central government, for funds and all other resources. This time around, the BJP government at the centre, is reported to have threatened to cut off all funds to the state, if the MLAs did not defect from the Congress! Such is the attitude of the Central government to the people of Arunachal Pradesh and other smaller states! This is the reality of this “federal system”.
The political system and process in our country is dominated by tried and tested parties of the bourgeoisie. Elections are used to sort out the contradictions among the various sections of the bourgeoisie and bring to power that political party or coalition which will most effectively carry out the agenda of the bourgeoisie. People’s votes do not count for anything. Each party that comes to power claims to have the “people’s mandate” to implement the same agenda of the bourgeoisie. The recent events in Arunachal Pradesh confirm that there is really no difference between the two parties of the bourgeoisie, so much so that MLAs belonging to one party one day can go over en-masse to the other party the next day.