The Central team’s visit to West Bengal (Dec. 1) goes against the federal structure of the Constitution. If there is a breakdown of law and order, which is a State subject, there ought to have been a report from the Governor to that effect. The Centre’s concern for maintenance of law and order was not evidenced earlier by any such visits to Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu where violent clashes were witnessed. The tragedy of the present coalition set-up at the Centre does not leave any wiser option or respect for constitutional niceties when regional parties have the numbers to dictate terms.
The decision to send a team to West Bengal is strange. If the law and order situation in that State is deplorable, the Centre is well within its rights to ask for a report from the Governor and act accordingly. Why send a team? The visit will establish two things: first that the post of Governor is just an extravaganza and, secondly, it will set a precedent and prerequisite even to invoke Article 356. If it is to assist the State, the latter should have asked for it, as law and order is a State subject.
Political impatience in the matter will not yield the desired results.
The only genuine way to isolate the Maoists is to root out injustice. The Salwa Judum misadventure in Chhattisgarh served only to strengthen them. In its eagerness to dislodge the Left from power in West Bengal the party in power at the Centre now appears to do something similar. Better if it realised the implications of such a move before calculating the electoral advantage it can possibly gain.
Gnana Surabhi Mani,