Not in good taste


The unprecedented haste in which the Goa Governor accepted the claim of the BJP’s majority in the newly elected house and inviting the senior party leader and former Defence minister Manohar Parrikar to form the government, has genuinely raised many eyebrows as the party had finished second in the elections with the Congress party wining many more seats than the BJP. The provisions in the Constitution defining the crucial role of the Governor may have been given the go-by in the unseemly haste with which the decision was taken so soon after the results were announced in which the Congress finished as the single largest party with 17 seats in the House of 40 while BJP won only 13. The BJP may have acted quickly to cobble up superiority with the help of former allies, regional parties and Independents, but the ethos of democracy has been defiled once again. To arrive at a decision when not even considering the possible scenario of the single largest party being able to command the numbers to stake what could be the first legitimate claim in any hung assembly situation was palpably wrong.
The morality of usurping power when the public mandate seemed to be against the BJP whose Chief Minister as well as five of his ministers lost the battle of ballot, is questionable to say thye least. The ground reality may be that Parrikar, a former Goan chief minister, is so popular that he may be able to command the loyalty of sufficient MLAs. But the question remains if the Governor should have simply gone with his claim instead of considering all probabilities, including the important one of seeking the views of the single largest party. Governors may claim certain discretionary powers, but such haste gives the Governor’s game away. In the most recent example of a Governor having to weigh the options came in the extraordinary situation in Tamil Nadu.
There the Governor used his discretion in waiting to assess the impact of developments and then did the right thing in calling the faction of the ruling party with the larger numbers to hold office. It is in not even taking the time to assess the possibilities that the Goa Governor has given short shrift to democratic values. The situation is similar in Manipur too where the split verdict has also placed Congress intriguingly close to the magic number, but could still be denied power as commercial realpolitik takes over and legislator loyalties are placed in the market even as defections and resignations are engineered. India has suffered far too many instances of democracy being hijacked as legislators bargain for power. However, it is in the irony of the timing of such marketplace-like events that becomes inescapable as the negotiations for power go on so soon after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that a new India was emerging and that the victor in the latest round of elections stood for all people and not only for those who voted BJP.
Similarly in the north-eastern state of Manipur where the Congress is ahead of the BJP, the governor of the state, a senior BJP functionary and a former union minister, Najma Hepthullah has given enough indication of her choice, to invite the BJP for the formation of new government rather than giving a chance to the Congress which has obtained more seats than the BVJP.
The manner in which the BJP is playing politics, especially in the two states, denying the Congress any chance to explore the possibility of forming the government and not respecting the peoples mandate, goes completely against what the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been claiming about cleansing the Indian polity. Only other day, Modi in his speech at the party headquarters, while referring to the overwhelming support his party got in UP, said that more the fruit a tree bears, more it bends. But going by the examples of Goa and Maniupur, it seems that Modi does not believe in what he talks and this is a bad omen for the Indian politics and the very basis of the democratic principles and traditions.