Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

BJP dumps PDP

On 19/6/2018 BJP ended its alliance with PDP. J&K CM Mehbooba Sayeed resigned. The alliance came to power on 1/3/2015 with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as CM. He died on 7/1/2016. His daughter Mehbooba Sayeed was not ready to take over CM immediately and Governor’s rule followed. Mehbooba Sayeed became CM on 4/4/2016.
All was not well in Kashmir. Stone-pelting at security forces had become rampant. At LOC there was firing by Pakistani forces on daily basis. Mehbooba Sayeed wanted a soft approach towards separatists and terrorists. Indian government declared cease fire for Ramzan. They did not lead to peace. So India did not extend cease fire which Mehbooba wanted. BJP communicated withdrawal of support to Mehbooba to Governor Narinder Nath Vohra and he told her about it. There is speculation that PDP was to hold its meeting on 21/6/2018 and after that Mehbooba was to come to Delhi with her demands and if the central government did not accept her demands she was to resign and BJP pre-empted it.
BJP claims the alliance had become untenable and ending it was in national interest. Shiv Sena which opposes every move of BJP welcomed it.
On 14/6/2018 there was UN Human Rights Council report on abuses and violations of human rights in Kashmir. The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called for international investigation into multiple violations. India rejected the report as fallacious, tendentious and motivated, based on largely unverified information. The report also mentioned violations by Pakistan.
Former Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta’s statement to ANI “Uncertainties are there, but we are working on something and people will get to know about it.”, has led Omar Abdullah to accuse BJP of attempting horse trade to form new government and demand immediate dissolution of Legislative Assembly elections as soon as appropriate.
BJP members and supporters were talking about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits when Congress was in power. These days the question arose what has the BJP done to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. They are in power in Centre for over four years and in J&K for over three years. BJP failed Kashmiri Pandits.
We have to see what will happen in Kashmir. BJP may cobble a government with the help of defectors or it can be election in December of April-May.

Pranab Mukherjee and RSS

Pranab Mukherjee has been in the news for many days. For about two weeks it was about his acceptance of invitation to speak at RSS headquarters. Many Congress members did not want him to do that. Some had confidence that he will say the right thing. His daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee did not want him there even though he may say the right thing. Speech will be forgotten, picture will remain, was her point of view.
On 7/6/2018 Pranab Mukherjee delivered his speech at RSS headquarters. Congress members were happy. He showed them the mirror. Had no doubt that Pranab will do the right thing. Such were the comments by Congress members. Those who were apprehensive were relieved and satisfied.
BJP’s Ram Madhav said it was a great speech. That speech and Mohan Bhagwat’s speech were complementary to each other. Nation First is the core message of both.
Soon a morphed photo of Pranab Mukherjee wearing RSS cap and giving RSS salute appeared. Sharmistha Mukherjee said she was afraid such a thing would happen. Congress members said BJP members have done it. BJP members questioned Congress for proof and said Congress members have done it.
For long Narendra Modi’s slogan has been Congress-Free India. If RSS had endorsed that it would have been difficult for Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS members. On 1/4/2018 at a book launch in Poona RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said Congress-Free India is a political slogan. It is not the language of RSS. It wants to include everyone in the process of nation building including those who oppose it. Way for Pranab Mukherjee to address RSS members was clear.
Pranab Mukherjee insisted on two things. First, his speech will be the last during the gathering as he was former President of India and protocol demanded that. As per RSS protocol Mohan Bhagwat would have been the last speaker. When former Air Chief Marshal Anil Yashwant Tipnis was the chief guest he had indirectly spoken against RSS. Mohan Bhagwat had rebutted him immediately. Second, the chairs on the stage had to be of odd number and Pranab Mukherjee was to sit in the centre. Pranab Mukherjee had his way. He was to be the last speaker and consequently no rebuttal on stage. There were five chairs and Pranab Mukherjee was the centre.
In the days that followed speculation cropped up that RSS wants Pranab Mukherjee as Prime Minister in case BJP does not win 2019 Lok Sabha election. Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted that her father has retired from politics and he will not get back into politics.
Meghnad Desai wrote that Pranab Mukherjee’s speech to RSS members was revenge served cold to Gandhi family for not making him Prime Minister. Gandhi family did not even make him Home Minister. It was humiliation for Pranab Mukherjee to serve under Manmohan Singh who was Governor of Reserve Bank of India when Pranab Mukherjee was Finance Minister. Rahul Gandhi speaks against RSS and Pranab Mukherjee has undercut him.

Karnataka conundrum

Article 163 (2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.

Karnataka went to polls on 12/5/2018. After that there have been twists in the tale.

First twist was after the polls and before counting of votes. Siddaramaiah was Congress CM candidate. A day after polling he said he was ready to step aside if party wants Dalit CM. MLAs have to agree to that.

Counting took place on 15th May. At one time BJP was leading in more than 112 seats. It came down and BJP ended with 104 seats. Congress won 78 seats. JD(S) won 37 seats. JD(S) ally BSP got one seat.

Second twist was Congress support to JD(S) H. D. Kumaraswamy as CM. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had referred to JD(S) as B team of BJP and (S) in JD(S) stood for (Sangh Parivar). Congress said Governor should invite Kumaraswamy to form government.

B. S. Yeddyurappa staked his claim to form government. On 16th May Governor Vajubhai Vala invited him to form government and prove majority in 15 days.

As mentioned in Article 163(2) it is Governor’s discretion to invite anyone to form government. For a long time Supreme Court did not admit any petition regarding inviting anyone to form government or dismissing any government. That changed with Bommai case. In 1998 BJP had gone to Supreme Court against UP Governor’s decision. On 24/2/1998 Supreme Court ordered floor test on 26/2/1998. Kalyan Singh got 225 votes and won. Jagdambika Pal got 196 votes and lost.

This time Congress went to Supreme Court on 16th May. Supreme Court sat after midnight, it was 17th May. This was unusual and unnecessary. This was third twist. Supreme Court did not stay BSY’s swearing in. It fixed 18th May to decide on 15 days time given to prove majority.

Fourth twist was on 18th May. Supreme Court fixed 4 p.m. on 19th May as time for vote of confidence. This was a blow to BJP. Congress and JD(S) MLAs were in Hyderabad and it was difficult to make some of them resign on switch sides.

Supreme Court vacation began on 19th May. Karnataka Governor had appointed K. G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker. Fifth twist was Congress-JD(S) went to Supreme Court against his appointment and wanted R. V. Deshpande of Congress as pro-tem Speaker. It cited convention. Supreme Court said there were cases when Seniormost MLA was not made pro-tem Speaker. Convention is not law. It cannot direct Governor to appoint Seniormost MLA as pro-tem Speaker.

Sixth twist was at 4 p.m. on 19th May. BSY did not move motion of confidence in Legislative Assembly. He announced his resignation.

Governor invited Kumaraswamy to form government. He was to take oath on 21st May. Then came the seventh twist. Oath taking had to be postponed to 23rd May because 21st May is death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi. I do not know why it could not be on 22nd May.

More twists are on the way. On 20th May Mallikarjuna Kharge spoke of give and take. Kumaraswamy said there will be no Rotational Chief Ministership.

BSY was CM for 55 hours. He will be caretaker CM for more than 86 hours.

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