Guv swearing in BSY not proper

Yeddyurappa was sworn in on Thursday morning as the chief minister, though he does not enjoy a majority in the newly elected Assembly, even as the JD(S)-Congress combine, which had staked its claim to form the government, has a convincing majority. DH photo

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the new government in the state was a deplorable action. It has given rise to accusations of gross misuse of the constitutional power vested in him.

Yeddyurappa was sworn in on Thursday morning as the chief minister, though he does not enjoy a majority in the newly elected Assembly, even as the JD(S)-Congress combine, which had staked its claim to form the government, has a convincing majority. The Governor’s action has been criticised as blatantly illegal and unconstitutional, and a violation of the norms of democratic politics and justice. Vala, who has a strong BJP past and was an associate of PM Narendra Modi, deviated from the practice followed in the recent cases of Goa and other states in near-similar situations. The Governor’s discretion in choosing a chief minister is not absolute, it can be exercised only within the framework of the Constitution. Discretion does not mean licence to act on one’s personal and political preferences. It has to be transparent and reasonable. Vala’s action was wrong and untenable in all these respects.

JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy had staked his claim to form the government with the support of the Congress. He had produced the list of MLAs who supported him and that constituted a majority. Yeddyurappa could only promise that he would prove his majority in the House and was generously given 15 days’ time for that. The Governor should not have rejected the claim of an existing majority in favour of a promise. This amounted to the endorsement and encouragement of horse-trading by the Governor’s office. There are reports of Rs 100 crore offers to MLAs to cross over to the BJP. Anand Singh, who was elected on a Congress ticket, is reported to have said that he had threats from the Enforcement Directorate. This is a misuse of official agencies for political purposes.

The Governor’s action is now before the Supreme Court. The court did not stay the swearing-in but has asked for the letters given to the Governor by Yeddyurappa staking his claim. The court will take up the matter on Friday and then the substance and validity of Yeddyurappa’s claim of support will be scrutinised. Precedents, as in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, support the Congress-JD(S) claim, because in all these states, combinations of parties including the BJP, which came together after the elections, were invited to form the government, and not the single largest party, which was the Congress. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had made it clear in 2006 that the claim of a post-election combination of parties which has majority support in the House cannot be rejected by the Governor. Hopefully, the Constitution will prevail.

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Guv swearing in BSY not proper

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