Push For Federalism
The Union government rejected the demand made by Left parties that the principle of federalism should be declared a basic constitutional feature which cannot be alerted except by people’s approvals sought through referendum. The demand was made by the CPM, Forward Bloc and others, at the discussion between the government and the opposition parties. In the government’s scheme of things, democratic character, secularism, adult franchise, free and fair elections to Parliament and state legislatures and independence of judiciary will not be allowed to be modified except through referendum, provision for which is being made in the proposed 45th Amendment Bill. Law minister Shanti Bhushan and I&B minister L K Advani pointed out the difficulties that would crop up in case the demand is accepted.
No agreement could be reached on the government’s proposal relating to the Emergency and declaration of President’s rule in the states. The government for instance wants to provide for declaration of Emergency in case of “armed rebellion” in place of “internal disturbances” as is provided under the Constitution at present. Opposition parties have told the government that there should be no provision for the declaration of Emergency except in case of external aggression. This was not acceptable to the government.
Nanaji Deshmukh, Janata Party general secretary, said the time has came that some of the senior, experienced and influential political leaders should voluntarily come forward to renounce seats of power and dedicate their energies to constructive programmes. He clarified he will continue to be a general secretary of the Janata but indicated that he may not opt to continue in the post after the party’s organisational elections.