For political parties in India, the national interests should be more important than regional interests. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, by referring the demands by parties based on local interests, said that the narrow political considerations based on regional or sectional allegiances could disfigure national vision and sense of wider collective purpose.
However, Manmohan Singh skipped names or any specific issue while addressing the inaugural speech at the fourth international conference on federalism. It was widely known that PM was indirectly referring the major issue of the Indo-US nuclear deal and India’s stand on this deal at present. On the issue of the nuclear deal, PM has been facing vicious opposition from Left parties and lost the support of other UPA constituents such as RJD, the DMK and the NCP.
These parties had supported PM’s decision to go ahead on the nuclear deal with US by terming it in overwhelming national interest. But, when the Left leaders threatened to pull out the crucial support from the UPA government, these constituents in UPA also pulled back their steps only to save the government in center.
The roles of these parties have now forced the PM to say that a single-party rule is better than multi-party system of governance. He said it at fourth international conference on federalism where delegates from 26 countries were also present. He said that in a multi-party model, political parties with varying national reach and many with a very limited sub-national reach, formed a coalition at a national level.
He then asked:
Is such a model capable of providing the unity of purpose that nation-states have to often demonstrate? Or is it an essential outcome of federalism, which successfully projects local aspirations at a national level? This political dimension of the Centre-states relations is yet another challenges facing a federal polity like ours.
This is the irony of Indian politics that the PM, who is heading a coalition government at center, is supporting the single party governance for taking important decisions and steps at national level for the sake of development of the country.
He further asked:
A single party state has any advantages in managing Centre-state relations smoothly as opposed to a multi-party system or is a multi-party model, with national parties dominating the political scene, superior, where one can hope that all of them will take a national view on policy issues and help to reinforce the unity of the federation.
Manmohan Singh had earlier said that people should vote to secure clear mandate for a political party for the better management of growth in the country. He even had termed politicians as short-term maximisers and advised them to emerge like a social group capable of long-term thinking.
According to him, India, at this point of time, actually needs men and women of wisdom capable of strategic thinking, with the self-confidence to articulate them. India needs people who can think for the nation; think into the future and its various possibilities.