Monday, May 16, 2011

Subverting the Constitution

Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj is up to his old tricks again. Having amply demonstrated that he strives to see an end to the BJP's only Government in South India, he has taken it upon himself to do everything in his power to subvert the Constitution and the voice of the people itself.

After receiving assurances in writing that the BJP enjoys a majority in the Assembly, the Governor rejected the cabinet's request to convene a special session of the Assembly to give it a chance t prove its majority. Instead, he wrote a letter to the Union Government asking for President's Rule to be imposed in the state.

This move is blatantly against the spirit of the Constitution. First, the Supreme Court has made it clear that majority is established on the floor of the house - not in Raj Bhawan. By dismissing the Constitutional process, the Governor has virtually subverted the Constitution and this alone should be reason enough for his dismissal.

It seems as though the Governor is trying to deflect the spotlight from his masters in the UPA, who are currently drowning in a flood-wave of scams. However, this is a cheap method to say the very least and it will not work. The BJP has a clear majority in the house and the Central Government cannot simply dismiss a democratically elected Government at the whim and fancy of some self-serving Governor.

The road ahead of clear as crystal: the President of India must reject the Governor's recommendation with the contempt it deserves and the BJP Government must be allowed to continue to finish its term without having to fight for existence every few weeks. If the Congress is really interested in toppling the Government, it must do so through a motion of no confidence, not such cheap, extra-constitutional tactics.

However, if the Union Cabinet chooses to play with democracy in Karnataka, it will pay a terrible price. This is not Indira Gandhi's day and age when State Governments can be tossed around like trash. Already in dire straits in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the Congress will face hell if it plays with fire in Bangalore.

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