Maharashtra governor’s action unconstitutional


The Maharashtra Farce, which was played at the ‘stroke of late night’ Friday, with President Kovind signing the removal of the Presidential Rule in Maharashtra, thereby allowing the Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, to swear in Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar as Chief Minister (CM) and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, of the state, is the modus operandi of the two leaders who are running the BJP at the moment. It is deeply distressing and disgusting to see how blatantly conventions and rules are kept aside and things are being done in an absolutely arbitrary manner, without ever thinking of being accountable to the people and to the Constitution of India.

We all know that BJP and Shiv Sena jointly fought the Maharashtra assembly elections and both were unable to get a majority. The governor gave time to NCP but did not follow the convention as, before NCP could formally respond, the President’s Rule was imposed. Shiv Sena and BJP were not able to come to a conclusion that Chief Minister’s position should be shared by the two parties.

The President’s Rule was imposed in the state under the pretext that all ‘political efforts’ have failed. The NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena were then making efforts to iron out their differences. I am not fascinated with these parties and their work culture, but in a democracy a government has to be formed so that the state does not suffer and people’s representatives take over and guide the destiny of the state.

By the evening of Friday, November 22, 2019, it became clear that Uddhav Thackeray, the chief of Shiv Sena, would be the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra, as all the three parties had done their homework. It took long, but that was natural, given the ideological and political differences that they had. It was essential to work on a Common Minimum Programme so that the government could work. Sharad Pawar had officially announced that Uddhav Thackeray would be the CM of Maharashtra for five years. As the nation was preparing to see the political climax, Modi and Shah did what they are best known for. Late in the night, they swung into action and got Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar sworn in as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra respectively.

This government has been blatantly violating political norms and practices. Perhaps, that does not amount to anything for them. They did not wait for the process to take its course, as they knew that it would be difficult for them to contain or stop Uddhav Thackeray from forming the government.

The tragedy in this entire farce is how the office of the President is being used and how he is ready to sign on the dotted line. The governors have already become members of the ruling party. They might have been the members of the ruling party once upon a time, but governorship is a non-political position. Infact, those who demand that the governor’s post should be removed seem to have been proved right. It is time to think about these things.

If BJP and the breakaway NCP faction had the numbers, then why this early morning swearing-in? It is clear that the government has played a dubious role in allowing the CM and Deputy CM to become poachers and break the parties. The naked dance of democracy is now being played in Maharashtra. What they did in Karnataka shamelessly is being replicated in Maharashtra. Whether they will succeed or not is another matter, but it is a fact that the current leadership of BJP will not settle for anything less than their party in the government, which is absolutely disturbing.

Will Maharashtra accept this farce? All institutions have collapsed under pressure. Look at the Karnataka farce. The 18 MLAs of the Congress Party, who joined the BJP, lost their membership and the Supreme Court confirmed it, but the same court allowed them to contest the bye-elections. The court did not utter a single sentence about the nature of the Karnataka government. How can a government be called legitimate if it does not have a majority and 18 MLAs, who are its ‘backbone’, have been dismissed from their membership of the assembly?

While people are upset, political leaders will have to stand up and show that they stand for principles and convictions. The leaders are making a mockery of them. It is happening because parties are giving ticket to goons, to moneylenders, to tycoons and they spend crores of rupees to win elections. Once they win an election, they feel that they have the right to get their money back. They cannot wait for their party to take an official decision and allow themselves to be blackmailed by the corrupt practices.

All the claims of fight against corruption are a farce and sheer lies as long as we see such unethical practices happening in our democracy. Our institutions have collapsed completely and their decisions are being taken in the North Block, in Delhi. Will the Congress and other opposition parties show some strength and fight against such blatant onslaught on our democratic conventions and practices? Will the Supreme Court take cognizance of it? We cannot believe in today’s media, whose job, nowadays, is to act as a cheerleader of the establishment and blame the opposition for ‘delaying’ things. In democracy, we all are partners and we need to stand up and speak against such corrupt practices, undertaken just to deny the Opposition a chance to form a government in the state. Let political parties pledge to fight against such corrupt practices and stand up for their principles. Let them not give their party tickets to non-committed, non-ideological persons to contest on their symbol.

Will this happen? Perhaps not. We all have to suffer because of lack of conviction and ideology among our political class, and the result is this erosion of values and stealing of people’s mandate.


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