Karnataka mess: Majesty of law no match for politics

Karnataka mess: Majesty of law no match for politics

The unsavoury developments also prove that it is disingenuous to use law to beat politics.

One lesson should surely be drawn from this - a revisit of all laws governing elections and procedures of legislatures in the country is in order.

This, irrespective of whether the central government accepts or rejects Governor H.R. Bhardwaj's reported recommendation to dismiss the B.S. Yeddyurappa government in the state.

Bhardwaj's action may be 'legally sound' but politically it may benefit the party that he believes has done wrong and tempt others to emulate that party.

Yeddyurappa and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in a win-win situation politically. If Bhardwaj's report is rejected, they are heroes who waged a valiant battle to save democracy. If his recommendation is accepted, the cry will be that law and position have been abused to take away what people had given them - the right to rule for five years.
The loser is the law and its majesty.

Bhardwaj is not tired of repeating that he has been a lawyer for decades and a central law minister for years. Unfortunately, in trying to be lawyer, he seems to have forgotten his experience as a politician - it is politics that more often wins in the battle with law.
The disqualification of 16 rebels for rebelling against Yeddyurappa in October last year was unmistakably meant to ensure the chief minister's survival.

But the question does arise as to why as governor, Bhardwaj did not show the door to the 16 instead of acting on their letter withdrawing support to Yeddyurappa.
Of the 16, 11 belonged to a political party, the BJP, and they were using Raj Bhavan, and not the party forum, to decide who should not be their leader.

If not as a governor and a lawyer with decades of standing, Bhardwaj, as a veteran politician, should have known that taking recourse to law to fight such political battles dents the majesty of the law.

Bhardwaj again forgot his political experience after the Supreme Court restored the membership of the 16 on May 13.

The 11 BJP legislators opted to re-extend support to Yeddyurappa, whether of their own volition or lured by the promise of cabinet berths or other plum posts. This is politics, as practiced in the country by almost all political parties.

Instead of leaving the politicians to settle their scores, Bhardwaj the lawyer came to the fore once more, resulting in a political mess rather than making politics better.

He opted May 15 to reportedly recommend to the central government the dismissal of the Yeddyurappa government since the apex court had restored the membership of the 16.
Bhardwaj missed a great opportunity to acquire a halo as a statesman.

He could have slammed the BJP for rushing with disqualification and declared that it might be legally sound to recommend its government's dismissal but he was not doing it in the hope that the party would learn a lesson and remain true to its claim to be a party with a difference.

Bhardwaj should have at least learnt after becoming Karnataka governor how the BJP and Yeddyurappa had easily beaten to pulp the anti-defection law.

Knowing they would not be able to woo one-third members of either Congress or Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) parties to split them, the BJP lured the legislators of these parties in ones and twos.

To the dismay of the Congress and JD-S and also large sections of the Karnataka population, these "defectors" won the by-polls as BJP members.

BJP had bagged only 110 seats in the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated member. However, it now has, including the 11 rebels-turned-loyalists, 120 members.

Karnataka politicians have shown that in power play, law and its majesty neither scares nor inspires them. By trying to be legally sound, Bhardwaj is ending up exposing the law's vulnerability to political shenanigans.