Supreme Court upholds spirit of the Constitution

Ashok Bhan
Governor’s first choice BJP Chief Minister of Karnataka lost his job for not been able to reach the magic number of majority in the State assembly in the floor test commanded by Supreme Court.He was on the hot seat hardly for 55 hours. It is a major set back for BJP despite having won 104 seats in Karnataka Assembly. It has hit invincibility image of BJP and its President,as all the tricks employed to cobble the majority failed because of arrogance and lack of political skills of the political managers as against the matured, skills and astuteness of the Congress Party and JD(S) managers.
BJP has been projecting its President Amit Shah as a modern day Chanakya through social media campaign saying he is able to win the hard political battles and manage the most difficult situations,such as Goa and Manipur.But in Karnataka despite his so called Chanakya Niti his bid to power without a clear majority got aborted and his bravado collapsed.
Shah’s term as BJP President ends this year,but it is rumoured he might continue till at least the next general elections.Shah”s men give him the benefit of psychological advantage over his adversaries within that he would manage BJP to form the Government in Karnataka at the end,no matter what the numbers are.Now that his invincibility has receded both within the BJP and other wise.
Karnataka changed political dynamics with Congress-JD(S) coalition Government in place has embolden the opposition to believe that Modi-Amit Shah agenda to spread BJP pan India base can be stopped. Opposition that has been trying to stitch up a united front of non-BJP parties is positively euphoric to take on BJP in 2019 general election.
Mamta Banerji, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav have played a greater role in blunting the BJP.No ally has stuck to BJP.Shiv Sena walked away long back.Telgu Desam Party a tested and tried ally of BJP lashed out at BJP and PM Modi to have betrayed the people of Andra Pradesh and called Modi and his cabinet as lying brazenly and denying the people their legitimate due and hobnobbing with the sworn adversaries of TDP. Telengana Chief Minister is one of the main advocates for anti-BJP united front.All the friendly smaller allies of BJP are sulking.
The main opposition Congress Party  has lent renewed vigour to the anti-BJP opposition front after it skilfully knocked out BJP from forming Government in Karnataka.Now the task for Rahul Gandhi who has emerged as the principal challenger to Narendra Modi is that power balance between the Congress Party and non-Congress parties need to be negotiated carefully and project a strong common massage to take on BJP and Modi Jagarnaught. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has taken the first step by conceding role to Kumaraswamy to be the Chief Minister.
Rahul Gandhi while addressing media said Congress party has protected the voice of people.Party will always strive to lend political support to the people’s voice and save the democracy,societal plurality and the institutions.He said Modi model of governance is despotic and authoritarian and it has brought major failures in the economy of the Country.He appealed to the people of Chhattisgarh,Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan to knock out BJP and set a final stage for 2019 defeat of BJP.
Karnataka BJP is seeing end of road for 75 years old Yeddyurappa after the 2019 elections.He is a Lingayat, the community  which has 15 percent of vote share.His grievance with Shah has been that his loyalists were denied Party tickets.He will not be BJP face for next election.He will be too old by then say middle rung BJP leaders.The Party projected him to woo Lingayat votes.He might end up marginalised like L.K. Advani was by Modi.
Karnataka reversal is bound to raise questions on Amit Shah micromanagement of the Party affairs.Insiders say, he oversees everything from appointments to party post and positions, selection of candidates,drafting of campaign strategies and management of fund and other party resources.He is believed to be projected as a master strategist to have won many State elections. He takes all the credit for it. He does not have the temperament to own the blame for the reversals that have happened recently like Rajasthan & UP bi-elections and now Karnataka.
The brazenness with which Amit Shah attempted to form the Government in Karnataka has surprised all the intellectuals and civil society activists in the Country.They say it was not only preposterous but reckless also to play with the constitutional norms and allow the Governor’s office to get into disrepute. The broad day display of shadow politics resorted by the BJP lost its potency and back fired.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court has kept the main issue of challenge to calling the single largest party or the coalition of majority numbers to form the government pending for final hearing to settle the issue once for all. The Hon’ble Court has in many cases identified the problem but not solved those finally.The question remains whether the Sarkaria report should be adopted and if yes to what degree?Many judgements have quoted it but not asked to adopt.According to report President or Governor have to decide who to call to form the government.There is no fixed rule for this.No judgement neither the SR Bommai nor Rameshwar Prasad are specific on the issue.
Sarkaria Commission recommends -1; First the party with a majority should be called -2; the pre-poll alliance parties-3; the single largest party. It is understood that the single largest party,which does not have majority on its own will seek help of other parties to form the government.
In Karnataka case Yeddyurappa’s letter to Governor said I am leader of BJP legislature Party and I will form the Government with other parties.He did not specify the number or names of other MLAs.He did not even attach the signatures of supporting MLAs with his letter.The Governor is not a Zombie.He has to apply his mind.He applied his mind to the contents of the letter and invited to form government and gave two weeks for floor test.Attorney general claimed immunity to challenge to Governor’s brazen breach of norms. Onthe other hand Congress and JD(S) letters had all the requisite details with names and signatures.
Thankfully the Hon’ble Supreme Court intervened to uphold the conscience of the Constitution and rule of democracy.
(The author is  Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India)
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