BJP steps up demand for Bhardwaj recall

The BJP top brass––veteran leader L K Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj––have sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press for Bhardwaj’s recall.

This is the second time that the central BJP leadership has pressed for Bhardwaj’s recall. On Sunday, Swaraj said Bhardwaj’s ouster from Raj Bhavan was “the least” her party would seek to set aright  the situation in Karnataka. On Monday, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had demanded the Governor’s removal.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, who attended the party’s core group meeting here, said the political crisis had been deliberately engineered by the Governor and accused him of using the Raj Bhavan for “political purposes”.

“He has defied all norms of political impartiality and constitutionality,” Jaitley said, outlining five “facts” to prove that all constitutional norms had been thrown to the winds in Karnataka. “First, the Governor allowed  Raj Bhavan to be used for political purposes, for the purpose of destabilising the government and horse-trading.

“Leaders of the Congress, the JD(S) and the MLAs who had defied the anti-defection law have been virtually operating out of the Raj Bhawan,” Jaitley claimed. Raising the pitch for Bhardwaj’s ouster, Jaitley said: “Secondly, the constitutional regulation— anti-defection law — mandates that you (MLAs) relinquish your membership of the Assembly if you go against the government. But, he (Governor) writes to the Speaker to ask him not to exercise the anti-defection law. It is unprecedented.”

As his third “fact”, Jaitley said the Governor “writes to the Speaker, almost threatening him, that if he takes action under the anti-defection law, then the verdict of the Assembly will not be acceptable. Fourthly, after the Assembly has recorded the vote of confidence, we understand that he has written to the Centre seeking action under Article 356”.
Arguing his case to expose the Governor’s alleged political chicanery, Jaitley said: “And today he writes to the chief minister, saying the verdict is not acceptable. In his letter, the Governor uses the word farcical...the Governor has completely lost his authority and cannot be the custodian of the Constitution. He should be recalled.”

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