The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: BJP must take care to not trample on states’ autonomy as it tries to expand footprint

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Violating federalism

In 1994, the Supreme Court delivered its most important judgement explaining the spirit of Article 356 of the Constitution, which defines the Centre’s powers to dismiss a state government. Commenting on the nature of India’s federal structure, the court made this vital observation in what is now referred to as the SR Bommai case:

“The fact that under the scheme of our Constitution, greater power is conferred upon the Centre vis-a-vis the States does not mean that States are mere appendages of the Centre. Within the sphere allotted to them. States are supreme. The Centre cannot tamper with their powers.” 

The seat of power of any state government is the secretariat, from where the chief minister, her Cabinet and top officials of the administration discharge their functions. This space is assumed to have great sanctity.

Since the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December, though, the sanctity of Tamil Nadu’s secretariat has been violated by the Centre twice. On both occasions, the chaotic political situation in Tamil Nadu, where the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has split into multiple factions, ensured that the state’s response to these transgressions was meek.

On May 14, after a new stretch of the Chennai Metro was inaugurated, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu chose to review the progress of central schemes from the state’s secretariat. On the face of it, the exercise may not seem damaging. But the context narrates a crucial tale. While Jayalalithaa had, on many occasions, met Union ministers in the secretariat, none of them had ever dared to hold a review meeting in its precincts when she was alive. In fact, even when Bharatiya Janata Party leaders accused Jayalalithaa’s government of stalling the Centre’s flagship schemes during the run up to the 2016 Assembly polls, no Union ministers would even have imagined stepping into the secretariat for any other purpose but to meet her. Most telling was what happened after Naidu’s review: he spoke to the media for 45 minutes while a subservient Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswamy watched passively.

A similar incident took place in December 2016, barely 20 days after Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5. The Income Tax department chose to raid the office of the chief secretary even without informing the chief minister’s office.

With a strong leader dead, the BJP might feel that a chance has emerged to dominate the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. But the BJP has failed to make a distinction between the ruling party and the state government. While political maneuvers to expand in a state where it is weak are legitimate, violating long-held federal conventions will only weaken an important balance the Constitution has struck between the Centre and the state. In this, the AIADMK must share the blame. By allowing the Centre to violate the boundries of the secretariat, the symbol of state governance, it has abdicated the federalist spirit that the Dravidian movement and its leaders energetically nurtured.

The Big Scroll

  • Shoaib Daniyal explains why West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s demand for more freedom to states is crucial and legitimate. 
  • Garga Chaterjee on how the Narendra Modi government has moved to a scheme of coercive federalism.  

Punditry

  1. In The Hindu, Zorawar Daulet Singh writes on why India should be part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and reconcile its geopolitical strategies to larger development goals. 
  2. Chintan Chandrachud in the Indian Express states that deciding whether bilateral agreements should override a multilateral agreement like the Vienna convention would be a crucial aspect of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice. 
  3. In the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg advices President Donald Trump’s aides to heed the voice of reason and quit before it is too late. 

Giggles

Don’t miss

Rayan Naqash reports on the problems the leader-less student agitations pose in Kashmir.

“Kabuli, a former leader of the National Conference, is worried that this wave of protests has ‘gone to the extreme’ but cautions against laying the blame entirely with the students. ‘Pellets, deaths and detentions, the lingering resentment from agitations of previous years,’ he said, ‘still has an impact on their minds.’

He is also concerned that this student agitation is ‘leaderless’ and lacks the ‘intellectual and visionary approach of past movements’. Still, he noted, its momentum will only increase.

Kabuli’s concern is shared by Hilal War, who heads the separatist People’s Political Party. He described it as a ‘situation of anarchy’. ‘We had student leaders in our time,’ he said. ‘Today, everyone is a leader. And it becomes a problem when everyone is a leader.’

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.