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Will Anandiben make a 'Vajubhai Vala' in Madhya Pradesh?

12/11/2018

New Delhi, As the vote count for 230 member Madhya Pradesh assembly- so far - has thrown a mixed picture with Congress leading in 110 falling short of six to touch the magic number and BJP surging ahead with 111- speculation is rife whether Congress party will be again at the receiving end of the 'imperial character' of governance. The apprehension has started at some quarters as earlier this year in Karnataka state Governor Vajubhai Vala had denied the opportunity to Congress and had invited the BJP to form government headed by BS Yeddyurappa. The Congress protested across the country calling it 'murder of democracy' and said they had already given letter of support of requisite members of Congress and JD(S) to form the government. The Congress party had moved the Supreme Court in a high drama litigation and got a favourable verdict from the apex court. Incidentally, in Madhya Pradesh the custodian of the Constitution - like Mr Vala, the Governor is also a former Gujarat politician, Anandiben Patel. Both these leaders Mr Vala and Ms Patel share one common virtue of working under Narendra Modi as Ministers during his stint as Gujarat Chief Minister. Besides Karnataka in 2017 also, the BJP had 'violated' the the unwritten code in Manipur and Goa and had applied different yardsticks to deny Congress the chance to government formation even as the numbers initially were in favour of the grand old party. According to political observers, however, the misuse of Governor's office by the Modi government was only a throwback to the good old 'Congress culture' as number of times the provisions of the Article 356 - which give sweeping powers to the Centre vis-a-vis - were misused number of times in 1980s and 1990s. BJP sources in Delhi did not rule out making last minute effort to form Government in Madhya Pradesh where the mandate was clearly against the saffron party as its tally is likely to fall from 165 (in 2013) to 111 in the new assembly. According to sources in the Congress and regional outfits like Trinamool Congress, BJP will be doing a "blunder" if they repeat the mistakes of Karnataka or for that matter in Uttarakhand as the Governor's actions in both these states failed the judicial scrutiny. However, an analyst known for the right wing inclination says in terms of use and abuse of Governor's office, Congress should not apply 'holier than thou' approach as even under Manmohan Singh, the then Governor SC Jamir had dismissed Manohar Parrikar in Goa in 2005. Incidentally, like Mr Parrikar, the then Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in 2016 had demanded trial of strength on the floor of the assembly, which was denied by the Modi government. The refrain from this school of thought is that in a much paradoxical turn of events the Modi government is only following the footsteps of the erstwhile Congress dispensations, when he had promised a different kind of polity in 2014.

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