When India became independent, the people of India adopted a Constitution, which provided for a federation of States with a unitary form of government at the Centre.
It was the right decision because security and unity of the country were of paramount importance at that point of time.
Since the Congress Party was in the vanguard of the Independence Movement, it became the ruling party both at the Centre and in the States.
Over a period of time the Congress lost its original shine but managed to remain in power by appealing to the vote banks of Muslims and under-privileged sections of Indian society.
This provoked the pro-Hindu middle class to consolidate the Hindu votes under the banner of Bharatiya Jan Sangh (present-day BJP) and challenge the supremacy of the Congress Party.
The end result of the division of votes between the Congress and the BJP was that those States which voted for or aligned themselves with the Congress Party or the BJP flourished while the others were neglected. They were compelled to choose between one and another alliance or suffer the consequences of their inaction. Not only that, they had to compete with these alliances in order to survive in their own States. This state of affairs produced a feeling of frustration, cynicism and disillusionment among the non-Congress and non-BJP States and compelled them to seek an alternative.
The alternative is the creation of a truly federal government at the Centre, which owes its allegiance to the Constitution of India and looks after the interests of all the States, irrespective of their religious or secular credentials.
The time has now come when there should be a Union of States with a truly federal government at the Centre. The government at the Centre should represent the Union of States of India and not one or the other so-called national political parties.
To achieve this objective the Constitution of India may have to be amended, which is not possible at the present moment.
The alternative at present is that in case there is a hung Parliament, the President should convene a meeting of all the elected Members of Parliament and ask them to choose the leader of the House. Members of Parliament should be asked to give their first, second or third preference in case no person is able to secure more than fifty per cent of the votes in the first instance. The Prime Minister thus chosen should form a truly federal, national government and remain in power till the full term of the House. In case there is a vote of No Confidence against the Prime Minister, it should be followed by a Vote of Confidence in the new person who should be elected through the same procedure adopted in the first place. The old Prime Minister should continue to remain in power till a new one is elected in his place.
This is the only way in which we can establish a truly federal, stable and viable government in the country.
So far as controversial issues like Indo-US Nuclear Deal, Kashmir, Sri Lanka crisis, international trade and commerce, climate change, world peace, international financial structure, etc., are concerned, these should be solved after proper discussion and debate both within and outside Parliament.
Let us hope that common sense rather than blind faith in secularism or Hindutva will prevail in the end in the larger interest of the people of India and the whole world.
THE NEED OF THE HOUR IS A TRULY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT THE CENTRE.