The post-poll violence of West Bengal, 2021, has made history. India has been rudely woken up to a new terror that is in total contrast to both the democratic and secular structure of the country. A large section of the society, both political and apolitical, has questioned the violence and openly condemned it. Calling it genocide and planned persecution, the BJP supporters have flooded the internet with their demand for a President’s rule (article 356) in the state. There was a cascade of #spinelessBJP on Twitter and other social networking sites. While the appeal seems legit, we cannot ignore the repercussions and predicaments that article 356 will bring with it.
To get a better understanding, we need to look at the situation legally and constitutionally. Since India is a democracy, it has certain procedures to deal with the devil. If the Modi government had imposed article 356 in the state, it would have backfired on the BJP. Mamata Banerjee had no legal control or power until her swearing-in ceremony; the blame automatically goes to the authority that had the legal and administrative power i.e. Election Commission of India (ECI). The Trinamool Congress (TMC) then would have taken the imposed act to the Supreme Court (SC). Being a part of a democratic society and considering that the elections were just over, the Centre would have fallen flat on its face and walked out of court wearing the badge of an unconstitutional jilted party.
This would invite national and international criticism as the Centre would have been hasty, impulsive and constitutionally wrong. It is undemocratic to not give the elected government a chance to control the internal disturbances. This would have resulted in the downfall of the BJP government and would bear serious consequences detrimental to the overall image of the party. Now, coming to what the government can do and the steps were taken by them to control the violence.
Article 256 and 257 are no ordinary laws. They deal with the Centre and state relations and are the answers to the ongoing violence. These laws are specifically made for this purpose. They give the Union, power to :
a) Give time to the state government to deal with the crisis.
b) Demand answers from the concerned authority
c) Form committees and teams to investigate the situation on the ground and
d) Give mandatory but temporary laws to the state to control the violence (if the state cannot comply with the centre).
The Centre, instead of imposing a direct rule of the President (which ideally should be the last option), can solve this more rationally and constitutionally; which it has. The Modi administration has faced a lot of criticism from their supporters and was also termed ‘spineless’, but what the supporters cannot understand is that to win a war, you need to lose some battles.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author.