Karnataka Governor is drawing widespread flak for doing exactly what BJP would have wanted
BS Yeddyurappa's swearing in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka has rendered the midnight drama in the Supreme Court pointless. However, Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to invite the BJP leader to form the government has not found approval of many.
Vala invited Yeddyurappa late last evening and gave him 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the state Assembly. What it effectively means is that BJP has been handed 15 days to make several Congress-JD(S) MLAs switch sides or at least abstain at the time of voting. With the charge of the state administration, BJP has also been given the power to make this happen.
Against this background, the Governor's decision has invited opprobrium from multiple quarters. While BSP chief Mayawati called the entire episode “a conspiracy to destroy the Constitution”, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said “this is what happens when RSS pracharaks occupy Constitutional positions”.
Outrageous. This is what happens when RSS pracharaks occupy Constitutional positions. The process of transforming secular, democratic Indian Republic into the RSS project of a rabidly intolerant fascistic state is vigorously underway. All progressive forces have to defeat BJP-RSS https://t.co/BQFWIYUVYs— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 16, 2018
RJD also condemned the Governor's decision, with national spokesperson Manoj Jha saying he was “ashamed to see a governor acting under pressure/direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah”.
Ashamed to see a governor(Mandated to be the custodian of Constitution) acting under pressure/direction of #ModijAmitShahjiSchoolOfMandateManagement..New India has certainly arrived wherein Constitutional morality can b thrown to d winds becoz Saheb hates it.— Manoj K Jha (@manojkjhadu) May 16, 2018
Later in the day, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav declared that his party will hold a dharna in Patna on Friday, demanding the Governor of Bihar to follow his Karnataka counterpart's logic, dismiss the NDA government in the state and invite RJD to form the government. RJD is the single largest party in the Bihar Assembly.
AAP MP (Rajya Sabha) Sanjay Singh also said that the same logic should be applied in Manipur, Meghalaya, Goa and Bihar and the state governments there should be dismissed.
मणिपुर,मेघालय,गोवा,बिहार की सरकार भंग करके सबसे बड़े दल को सरकार बनाने का मौक़ा दिया जाय। pic.twitter.com/VcQDMtIEuV— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) May 17, 2018
The strongest ripples of these developments were felt in Goa, where the Congress announced that it will parade its MLAs in front of Governor Mridula Sinha to demand that the BJP government be dismissed and Congress be invited to form the government, being the single-largest party in the state assembly.
While all these reactions indicate a growing political movement in the anti-BJP camp across the country, Governor Vala's invitation to Yeddyurappa appears not entirely in sync with the Constitution.
Catch spoke to noted constitutional expert PDT Achary, former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, to understand how constitutionally sound was the decision. Achary said, unequivocally, that the Governor has not fulfilled his constitutional obligation.
He explained that Article 164 of the Constitution ordains the Governor to appoint the CM, but also mentions that the Council of Ministers to be subsequently appointed by the Governor on the advice of the CM must be collectively responsible to the House.
Achary said that in layman's terminology, this means that the Council of Ministers must have confidence of the House, or majority in the House. He asserted that it was a constitutional obligation on part of the Governor to invite that leader who enjoys a majority in the House, which Yeddyurappa lacks in Karnataka's case.
The former SG also recalled that in 1998, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee had staked claim to form the government, heading an alliance of parties, President KR Narayanan ascertained the reality of Vajpayee's claim himself and then invited him to form the government.