Skip to main content

Modi's pay back time to UPA’s "wrongs"? Deft hands at work for measured steps to sidestep anti-defection law

Modi in Arunachal Pradesh
By RK Misra*
Past is never past. It returns to haunt the future. See how. And I quote:
“It is a matter of great concern that the federal structure is under increasing strain, merely to suit the whims and fancies of the rulers in Delhi .What we are witnessing today is the systematic disruption of our country’s federal structure both in letter and spirit.
“Paradoxically, the rulers in New Delhi have repeatedly flexed their muscles in areas where they should ideally be friendly and cooperative with the states. In order to do so they have not spared any constitutional office. There are many instances of states being targeted through the office of the Governor. Several other bodies are also being misused by the Centre to weaken the states ruled by the opposition in order to score political brownie points.
“Chief ministers are not consulted on crucial appointments. Rather appointments are being thrust down violating the spirit of the laws of the land. Why is it that chief ministers cutting across party lines are expressing serious apprehensions on these repeated attacks on India’s federal structure?”


Furthermore, it goes on:
”The systematic onslaught on the federal structure has taken various forms. The Gujarat Assembly thrice passed the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill but the centre has kept it waiting for four years now .This despite the fact that law and order is a matter clearly in the state list. What better to expect from a government that thrives on the evil of vote bank politics? Cooperative and not coercive federalism must be the norm in our country.”
Anguished outpourings of a concerned Indian at the state of present day affairs? No, excerpts from the blog of Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat on the eve of Republic day, January 25, 2012!
The perceivably wronged became the triumphant ruler 18 months ago. What changed thereafter? Nothing, except that perverse politics has gone from bad to worse. The laudable conviction voiced in words has been proved sadistically hollow indeed. The previous government did it so we stand automatically licensed to pay back in kind and then add our own variation of interest to it, remains the norm of the Modi government.
Of course, Governors appointed by the previous administration have been pushed or snidely removed to be replaced by worthies of their own liking, in flagrant disregard of judicial pronouncements which state that constitutional appointees could not be so dispensed with before their term.
This is being done to destabilize opposition ruled states. The Congress-led government of Nabam Tuki in Arunachal Pradesh went for a toss, destabilized through engineered defections .Now it is the turn of another Congress opposition ruled state. The imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand invoking article 356 of the Constitution, just a day before the Harish Rawat government was set to face a trust vote leaves no scope of doubt on the coloured nature of the exercise by the Narendra Modi led Centre.
To add insult to injury, the Lok Sabha was prorogued to make sure that the state budget could be passed by executive order to by-pass the numerically stronger opposition in the Rajya Sabha where matters would have stalled.
Thus it is that the honourable gentleman who as chief minister of Gujarat took the moral high ground and flailed at the Manmohan Singh led UPA government for practicing coercive federalism today stands guilty of even baser political practices .It is plain subversion of the people’s mandate. How is Modi any better than the previous dispensation?
It is now abjectly clear that, having been thwarted in Bihar and Delhi, he has now decided to destabilize opposition-led state governments by the simple ruse of engineering defections and using pliable governors to install their own in power. Manipur and Himachal Pradesh are next on the list.
In fact in Manipur, the not so hidden BJP hand is already stoking dissidence against the Okram Ibobi Singh government. In Himachal work on sullying the image of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh through numerous ‘official’ agencies has long been in the works so as to create grounds for an ’upsurge’ in dissidence and then the topple.
Deft hands are at work taking measured paces to sidestep the anti-defection law as well as the landmark 1994 SR Bommai case judgment of the Supreme Court which laid down the law that the majority of any government has to be tested on the floor of the House.
In Arunachal a smokescreen was promptly created through a trust motion against the Assembly Speaker. Importantly in both states the rebels lacked the numbers to by-pass the anti-defection law. The Modi government was fast on the uptake imposing President’s rule on the eve of a floor test. Where is the breakdown of Constitutional machinery? Why slyly subvert a popular mandate through the backdoor? Why not elections instead?
Because this is possible only after dissolution of the present House .The Upper House has to approve President’s rule. And if you need to avoid that then you need to ‘buy’ enough majority to stitch together an alternative government. This should make Modi’s compulsions clear enough.
And then there is union minister Venkaiah Naidu asking the Congress to introspect on why legislators are leaving their party! After describing his boss as God’s gift to India, he should know why. Obviously because of the filthy lucre raining from up there .Even in Bharat mata’s domain there is a price tag to every commodity, politicians included.
If cross-voting in the lowly Ahmedabad district panchayat in Gujarat recently, reportedly, carried a price tag of rupees two crores, imagine the transaction – cash or power— involved when the fate of entire state governments hang on breakaway votes.
Modi’s doublespeak is now a matter of social media jokes – and there are myriads of examples. But on a serious note this one takes the cake, for in hindsight, it stands out as a reflection of an important political persona who spoke flippantly and now in the hot seat has to eat his words.
On September 15, 2012, castigating the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, chief minister Modi said, ”By permitting foreign direct investment(FDI) in retail you are allowing foreign traders to enter India. The country wants to know how many Italian businessmen would benefit by this decision.”
Quoting Singh’s statement that he would rather go down fighting to push economic reforms, Modi had then said, and I quote, “Dr Manmohan Singh, you do not have the strength in your bones that you can die fighting. You have done it for the foreigners so that they can come here to conquer the trade of India and take away employment”.
Just an year after becoming the Prime Minister, on May 12,2015 Modi’s government retained Singh’s decision in its consolidated FDI policy. Would Prime Minister Modi now answer the question he had posed to Singh? Why and for whom?
And by the way, the GUJCOC which chief minister Modi had got thrice passed in the Gujarat Assembly was withdrawn from the President by Prime Minister Modi’s government.
In politics even pocket books can pose as almanacs!
---
*Senior Gandhinagar-based journalist. Blog: http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in/

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”