ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Turncoats Get It Rough

Turncoats Get It Rough THE FALL of the Madhya Pradesh Government of D P Mishra after 36 MPs had crossed over to the Opposition was fully discussed by the press. Discussion was widespread, because the issues posed were basic to democracy. Should a Chief Minister ask for, and the Governor agree to, dissolution of the Assembly, if the ruling party loses its majority through defections? This was the main question. An allied question was: should the Leader of the Opposition, if he can, be permitted to form an alternative Government without the State being forced into mid-term elections? The turn of events in Madhya Pradesh was roughly as follows: the Assembly was discussing the budget, when word came that 36 Congressmen had defected to the Opposition. The Chief Minister, D P Mishra, thereupon asked the Governor to prorogue the session, obviously to gain time to woo back the dissidents. The question was referred to the Congress High Command. Mishra wanted to ask for re-elections, confident that he would be returned with a majority. The Congress High Command was opposed to it. The Opposition Leader, the Rajmata of Gwa- lior, went to Delhi to prove that the dissidents were under no duress, to seek support for her claim to form a new government, and to ask the Centre to intervene. The outcome of it all was that Mishra was advised to test his strength in the Assembly, which he did, knowing full well what the outcome would be. Now he is out.

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