Friday, March 11, 2005

Goa and Jharkhand - Congress (I) decide to lose people's goodwill.

We have watched silently what transpired in Goa over the last two months.

In a small state, over the months, BJP had engineered mergers with small parties to increase their strength to 21. Congress (I) forced some mysterious resignations resulting in BJP's strength in the assembly coming down to 17. Then a series of shady events followed. BJP's speaker disqualified an opposition member, Governor stepped in and dismissed the BJP government and installed a Congress (I) government which in turn tried to disqualify a BJP support MLA. Then the Central Cabinet stepped in and recommended the imposition of the President's rule in the state.

What have the Congress (I) gained? They have succeeded in unseating BJP from one state, even if it means that the state will be under the President's rule and people are disenfranchised until the next elections are held.

Now, the Congress (I) are working hard to have something similar happening in Jharkhand, and also in the process fight with the Supreme Court of India.

In the recently held elections in Jharkhand, NDA clearly emerged as the largest group. However the Congress (I) appointed Governor called Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's leader Shibu Soren (who is at large on a bail in a murder case!), an ally of Congress (I) to form the ministry and to prove his majority in the assembly. The aggrieved NDA MLAs went to the President and complained. The President should have ideally dismissed the Jharkhand Governor Syed Sibtey Razi. However it isn't that easy and he would have to get the Home Ministry's support for this, so he instead summoned the Governor and advanced the date for the floor test to March 15th.

In the meantime, NDA went to the Supreme Court and complained. The Supreme Court found the Governor's action questionable (so did every right thinking person in the country) and demanded that the trial of strength be conducted on March 11th (today) and also gave a set of instructions to the pro-tem speaker on how to conduct the proceedings.

The murder of democracy in Jharkhand did not ruffle the Congress (I)/Communist leaders. Instead, the Supreme Court's directives got their goats. They went to the extend of demanding a Presidential Reference on this matter. But in the end it seems that some sense has prevailed and Congress (I) may not demand the Presidential Reference.

However JMM and Congress (I) have decided to take the Supreme Court on through "legal maneuvers". Despite the Supreme Court order that the pro-tem speaker merely provide the oath of office to the MLAs on 10th March and a trial of strength on 11th March, citing various procedural issues, the pro-tem speaker has adjourned the proccedings till 15th March.

See the date. March 15th. That was the date set by the Governor after a dressing down from The President. So this move is to tell the Supreme Court that court orders do not bind the legislature and instead they, in cahoots with the Governor, will thumb their noses at the Supreme Court.

Now the debate will be on whether the Supreme Court has the powers to direct the pro-tem speaker (or the Speaker) on what he and the legislature should do. Also there are questions on whether the pro-tem speaker has the right to conduct the floor-test whether or not ordered to do so by the Supreme Court.

Perhaps, the Supreme Court could have modified its orders by merely advancing the date of the assembly meeting to March 11th, and then allowed the legislature to elect the Speaker - which would have anyway shown who was really in control of the legislature.

Generally speaking the legislature should the powers to regulate themselves and the Supreme Court should not interfere in such matters. But this is a special occasion. The legislative process has been subverted by an officer appointed by The President. The President has implicitely acknowledged this by calling the Governor and changing the dates of the trial of strength. However the President cannot go beyond this since his decision will have to be enforced through the Cabinet, which will not go against its own handpicked Governor - perhaps Razi was hired specifically for this purpose.

Anyway, now the President's hands are forced. The Cabinet may suggest suspending the assembly and impose the President's rule. This is not acceptable. First, some kind of voting should be allowed inside the assembly to find out who indeed has the support.

Congress (I) should also accept the fact that you cannot thrust down your own Government in a state, if the people have rejected you.

They are handing needless shot-in-the-arm to BJP through Goa & Jharkhand fiascos.

1 comment:

  1. & so... Now what do you think about tha situation in Jharkand. I have noticed a new trend of calling in the "inner voice" by these ruthless politicians. I understand none other than Gandhiji use to say such a word, because of which it gained certain respect. If this trend continous I guess it is going to loose its Charm, Respect & all that it commands.

    I intend to write my opinions on these attacities of so called inner voices in my tamil blog - Naalavathukann. Probably by this evening I might upload that.