Are the twin power centres of the Indian state, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leading the government and Sonia Gandhi holding the reins of the Congress party, a concept ahead of its time? Congress party spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi definitely believes that this is the case.
“In the last nine years, the kind of relation between the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh is not one that is seen normally…it will become a model style of working one day,” Dwivedi was quoted as saying in television reports.
He pointed out that in any coalition government in a democracy, multiple parties compete and come together to form a government and it was these same political parties that dictate government policy.
“There are often differences that are either visible or invisible, but in this case the relations and the manner in which they have been maintained is a model style of functioning when you look at any other democracy in the world,” Dwivedi said.
Ironically, Dwivedi’s praise of this model of functioning comes just days after senior party leader Digvijaya Singh said that having two power centres, one of the Prime Minister and the other of the party chief, had not worked well.
“Personally, I feel that this model hasn’t worked very well. Because, I personally feel that there should not be two power centres and I think whoever is the Prime Minister must have the authority to function, although Sonia Gandhi has really never interfered in the functioning of the government,” Singh had said.
He isn’t the only one saying so. Much has been said about the problems of having two power centres with Sonia Gandhi said to be the final authority on the government’s major policy decisions despite Manmohan Singh being the Prime Minister.
In a detailed analysis, Firstpost‘s editor-in-chief R Jagannathan had observed the pitfalls of having multiple power centres in the government, especially when one has absolute veto powers over the decisions made by the other.
Dwivedi may have merely sought to soothe any discomfort that may have arisen from Digvijaya Singh’s statement, but whether it will continue to be a form of government the party will endorse remains to be seen.