Po­lit­i­cal Set­back for the Cen­tre

Gain for the Congress not sym­met­ri­cally large

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

The Ut­tarak­hand High Court judg­ment re­vok­ing Pres­i­dent’s rule in the state is a huge po­lit­i­cal blow to the Modiled cen­tral govern­ment and the BJP. It, how­ever, has an asym­met­ri­cal fall­out: the gain for the Op­po­si­tion Congress, whose govern­ment was dis­missed in Ut­tarak­hand one day be­fore it was to prove its ma­jor­ity on the floor of the House, is mi­nor in scale com­pared to the po­lit­i­cal dam­age done to the BJP and the prime min­is­ter. The court ver­dict crit­i­cises the cen­tral govern­ment for vi­o­lat­ing the law and harm­ing democ­racy. Th­ese add up to se­ri­ous crit­i­cism of Naren­dra Modi, who takes pains to claim that the Con­sti­tu­tion is the only holy book he fol­lows as prime min­is­ter.

Con­sid­er­ing that as many as nine of its leg­isla­tive assem­bly mem­bers had joined the Op­po­si­tion BJP to op­pose the Bud­get, the Congress govern­ment led by Har­ish Rawat could not have passed the Bud­get with a voice vote. His govern­ment ef­fec­tively stood de­feated on a money Bill. How­ever, those nine rebel MLAs, hav­ing gone against the party whip, stood dis­qual­i­fied as well. So, the task be­fore the leg­is­la­ture was to test if Har­ish Rawat still re­tained the con­fi­dence of the House. The big mis­take on the Cen­tre’s part was to flout the norm — not dis­puted till the present govern­ment at the Cen­tre started wield­ing Ar­ti­cle 356, since a nine-mem­ber bench of the Supreme Court laid it down in 1993 — that the con­fi­dence of the House has to be tested on the floor of the House. The BJP has made it clear that it would chal­lenge the high court or­der in the Supreme Court. There is no rea­son for the apex court to grant a stay on the floor test or­dered for April 29 or to in­val­i­date the high court or­der, since the high court judg­ment’s rea­son­ing pretty much fol­lows the Supreme Court’s on the sub­ject.

It is moot, how­ever, if Rawat would be able to mar­shal enough sup­port in the House. His govern­ment could well fall. The sen­si­ble, demo­cratic course then would be to hold fresh elec­tions, to let the peo­ple, the ul­ti­mate sov­er­eign, have a say as to who should rep­re­sent them.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.