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Fake Federalism

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Mamata Banerjee claims that the Supreme Court order instructing the Kolkata Police Commissioner to cooperate with the CBI but not be arrested is a moral victory for her. Exactly how, people may ask. The only solace for her is that cognisance has not been taken thus far of her illegal attempt to prevent the CBI from carrying out its duties. What she has succeeded in doing is to put the police official in question squarely in the crosshairs of his employer, the Union Government.
The West Bengal Chief Minister is grossly mistaken if she thinks that the mere fact of her having been elected by the people grants her a dictatorial hold over the state; that she can act outside of the Constitution. It has become a fad for some politicians to project their self-serving politics as ‘federalism’, which it certainly is not. The Constitution does divide powers between the Centre and the states, but sovereignty lies squarely with the Centre.
Mamata’s recent actions deserve a much more severe response, not just from the Union Government, but also the system. The only reason why this has not been initiated is very possibly because the BJP does not wish to offer her the opportunity to play the victim card just before the general elections. It is better if her eccentricity comes to be seen for what it is – a possible extension of deep rooted megalomania.
One theory is that she is attempting to pitch herself as a leader of the future ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and her dramatics were directed at displaying her support base. While the likes of Kejriwal, Tejashvi Yadav and Kanimozhi did rush to her side, other claimants to the leadership will have become wary of her moves. Already, Rahul Gandhi’s initial words of support have been moderated by the Bengal unit of the Congress, which suffers directly from Mamata rule. There are already the beginnings of two separate fronts, though the hope is that the BJP would face a single combine at the level of the states. In West Bengal, however, this is already not the case and it must trouble Mamata and please the BJP.
The victims of the chit fund scam in West Bengal will also have seen how, instead of aiding the probe, the CM rushed to the defence of a person of interest. It has raised suspicions about her involvement and the secrets the Kolkata top cop is privy to. It is exactly these doubts the BJP will stoke in its election campaign. The game is not over yet and there certainly have been no ‘victories’.