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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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New Delhi's Long Arm

New Delhi's Long Arm

(p.594) Chapter 29 New Delhi's Long Arm
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

Central governments in all federations have means to make their will felt in the capitals of the country's constituent units. These were unusually extensive in India. This has been true because of at least four factors: the country's initial top-down federalism, anxieties about national unity and integrity, the policies, strategies, and machinery for economic and social development, and the desires of political parties and individuals to exert power nationally. This chapter reviews New Delhi's most far-reaching power, exercised through the use of articles in the Constitution's Emergency Provisions (Part XVIII). These fundamentally altered the character of federal relations — in particular, the central government's authority to administer in a unitary fashion the entire country or a single state. The President's Rule placed the governor and the Congress Party's ambitions at the heart of controversy.

Keywords:   central government, federalism, Congress Party, India, New Delhi, national unity, President's Rule

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