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

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Constitutional Disregard: Congress Shenanigans

The Congress Party’s eagerness to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution and have the central government dismiss the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime in Uttar Pradesh, fortunately came to a naught with the Election Commission announcing the schedule for polls to the state assembly, but the entire episode only confirmed that like the proverbial leopard and its spots, the Congress can never change its colours. The manner in which a section of the Congress leadership went about demanding the removal of the Uttar Pradesh government, aided by the reports of the governor, T V Rajeswar, seeking dismissal, is proof if needed, of the party’s ingrained lack of regard for the established canons of democracy. And lest it be mistaken, the political drama that was played out in Lucknow and New Delhi during the couple of weeks preceding the announcement of the poll schedules revealed that the BJP too belongs to the same league.

It is strange that the leaders of the Congress as well as the BJP did not care to pause to think as to whether invoking the constitutional provision was at all possible in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the S R Bommai and Others vs Union of India case and in the larger context of the judicial interventions in the case concerning the dissolution of the Bihar assembly in 2005. It may be recalled that the dissolution of the Bihar assembly on the basis of a report from the then governor, Buta Singh, in which he apprehended “horse trading” was held unconstitutional by the apex court. It was a similar report by Uttar Pradesh governor Rajeswar, which the Congress cited in its clamour to invoke Article 356. The Congress has shown no sign of being the wiser from past experience and it was stranger still that regional outfits such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which had suffered the abuse of the same constitutional provision at least twice in the past (January 1976 and January 1991), agreed to join this campaign.

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