First of all, let’s not have any illusions about “right” or “wrong” in Uttarakhand. The BJP wanted power. The Congress wanted power. About 10 Congress MLAs sold out to BJP. One BJP MLA (Bhim Lal Arya) sold out to Congress. The Congress CM Harish Rawat was caught on the phone bribing MLAs, not once but twice. The BJP used its power to dismiss the Uttarakhand government. The Congress used its power to disqualify 9 MLAs voting in favor of the BJP. It was a full on face off with no place for principles whatsoever. The bottomline is that the Congress won the round and the BJP lost.
A contest such as that which happened in Uttarakhand yesterday can only be studied in the context of previous such contests. What bothers me about yesterday is that BJP failed to avenge the injustices of Goa 2005. What happened to Manohar Parrikar in 2005 rankles me to this very day:
“The Goa Governor, S.C. Jamir, this evening dismissed the 32-month-old Manohar Parrikar-led Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government, even as the Government won a vote of confidence, albeit controversial, on the floor of the House. The session was adjourned abruptly by the Speaker, Vishwas Satarkar. at 5.40 p.m. after the vote. Mr. Parrikar said he received the order dismissing him at 6.10 p.m. The one line order read: “In exercise of powers vested under Article 164(1) and other enabling provisions of the Constitution of India, I, S.C. Jamir, Governor of the State of Goa, do hereby withdraw my pleasure and accordingly dismiss Shri. Manohar Parrikar as Chief Minister of the State of Goa.”
Now I am no historian of constitution, but this may have been the first time in history that a government was dismissed AFTER winning the vote of confidence on the floor of the House. This act of imperialism by Sonia Gandhi deserved an equal and opposite counter from Narendra Modi, a debt that remains unpaid till this day.
I don’t know what’s right or wrong, but I know that Goa 2005 deserves to be avenged. And as of today, the BJP has failed to do it.
In a battle such as this, it is natural that both parties approached the courts. At least there was one sane voice, for which we should be eternally grateful to the judiciary. By deciding that the decision of Uttarakhand’s speaker (2016) shall be final on matters of disqualification
and deciding that the Karnataka Speaker’s decision (2010) cannot be final in matters of disqualification of MLAs
the judiciary’s wisdom has laid the foundations for a better understanding of the idea of India. Today, the Supreme Court is set to decide on whether the Lok Sabha speaker’s decision (2016) on Aadhar being a money bill can be treated as final. To use the Supreme Court’s own famous words from one of its most famous decisions, the care that the SC is showing for India’s Constitution seems “almost maternal”.
Good luck to Modi trying to snatch democracy from the maternal care of the judiciary…
My final thought on this Uttarakhand fiasco is that the worst did not happen. There were murmurs that the BJP would have formed an alternate government with the rebel Congress MLAs and Satpal Maharaj as CM. Now that would have been a true disaster.
Friends, if you liked this post, be sure to comment and like on the FB page: