New Delhi, Nov 5: Facing opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal from the Left Parties and allies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today wondered whether a multi-party coalition government like the one he was heading was capable of providing the unity of purpose required to be demonstrated by the nation-states. "Sometimes the resolution of problems acquires an excessively political hue, and narrow political considerations, based on regional and sectional loyalities and ideologies, can distort the national vision and sense of collective purpose," Dr Singh said while inaugurating the Fourth International Conference on Federalism here today.
Pointing out that the political dimension of the Centre-State relations posed a major challenge to the federal polity like India, the Prime Minister urged the three day conference to reflect on whether the single party state have advantages in managing the centre-state relations better as opposed to a multi-party system.
Saying that the Indian experience of multi-party model with national parties dominating the political scene in managing the centre state relations also gives rise to serious tensions, the Prime Minister cited the example of river water disputes involving various states.
''It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that we have found it easier to manage bilateral agreements with neighbours on river water sharing than domestic disputes between states. Similar issues arise in the management of our mineral and hydrocarbon reosurces,'' Dr Singh said and pointed out that sustained economic development increases the inter-dependence among the units of federation. Balanced and equitable management of this growing inter-dependence was yet another major challenge facing the federal polity, he added.
Regarding the management of disputes between different levels and identities, the Prime Minister suggested using judicial process or ''creating thinking and redesigning of institutions to allow the federal concept to adjust to emerging realities.'' Federalism as a concept has to show ''ingenuity and innovation in managing contradictions,'' he said.
However, the Prime Minister clarified that these issues were not unique to India. In a world of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural plural societies, federal political system face new political challenges like managing tension between centralisation in some spheres of governance and decentralisation in others.