What is it about?

Federal stability or federal balance can be said to have been achieved when centre-state relations are characterized by "negotiated cooperation". What is negotiated cooperation? How is it different from tacit, imposed, and contingent coop. in multilevel systems? What factors drive negotiated cooperation even under a dominant party rule?

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Why is it important?

Many studies have demonstrated a trend towards greater centralization of the federal system in India since 2014. However, the causal mechanisms that underpin this centralization remain underexplored. This article systematically explores the processes involved in tipping the delicate federal balance in favour of greater central control, and in doing so pays particular attention to the role of the party system therein.


Our analytical narrative is structured around the assertion that ‘negotiated cooperation’ is contingent upon: (a) the interaction between constitutional structure and federal politics; (b) the capacity and willingness of subnational incumbents to safeguard their policy space and (c) the nature of party organization and the ideological disposition of the polity-wide parties towards territorial power-sharing. Drawing from India’s experience since 1952, we demonstrate that a dominant party system does not necessarily entail encroachment on subnational authority. At the most, it is a necessary but insufficient condition for federal imbalance. However, the problem of federal encroachment arises only when the dominant party is internally centralized and personalized, advocates unitarism and operates in a context of weak constitutional, political, procedural and judicial safeguards for self-and shared-rule.

Prof. Chanchal Kumar Sharma
Central University of Haryana

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The dynamics of federal (in)stability and negotiated cooperation under single-party dominance: insights from Modi’s India, Contemporary South Asia, November 2022, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/09584935.2022.2132218.
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