Democracy takes a beating

Karnataka Drama

By Insaf

Mockery of democracy and constitutional authorities! This is what developments in Karnataka post-poll sadly reflect. Changing the rules of the game, brazen double standards, gross abuse of constitutional power, spectacle of horse trading et al is being played out in the latest kissa kursi ka drama in the southern State. To top it all, sworn-in Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has sought a “conscience vote” from rivals, Congress-JD(S) combine, which would have otherwise proved its majority had Governor Vajubhai Vala invited it. Instead, he chose to shame Raj Bhavan and the constitutional post he holds by not only inviting the BJP as being the single largest party, sans proof of majority, but giving its leader all of 15 days to prove confidence of the House. Is this the victory BJP should celebrate? And, then there was the Supreme Court, which heard a petition by Congress-JD(S) post midnight, giving some hope, but in the end refused to stay Yeddyurappa’s oath-taking ceremony! However, on Friday it seems to have made amends and restored people’s faith in judiciary. It ordered the floor test be conducted in State Assembly on Saturday at 4 pm for Yeddyurappa to prove his majority; he cannot take any major decision before it; asked DGP to ensure tight security for floor test and barred Governor from nominating any Anglo-Indian community member as MLA till the test is over. Happily, the Congress and JD(S) wouldn’t have to flit around for safe havens to keep its flock together for two-long weeks. The nagging suspense will be over within 24 hours. The big question is whether glory for Yeddyurappa and BJP would be short lived?
3 States Say Me Too
Why not us, is a question popping up in three States-Goa, Manipur and Bihar. The single- largest party’ syndrome is now the stick that Congress and RJD want to rightfully beat bully BJP with, in the Karnataka aberration. The Opposition parties want respective Governors to dismiss the ruling BJP government and stake claim to form the government, as they are the single largest parties too. The same yardstick must be applied as in Karnataka is their argument. Recall, in Goa Assembly polls last year, the Congress was the single-largest party with 17 of 40 seats, whereas the BJP had just 13. However, the saffron party got one MLA to join by quitting Congress and formed the government with an alliance with small regional parties. In Bihar, the RJD was the single-largest party with 80 MLAs in the 243 Assembly, but the BJP-JD(U) alliance with 131 seats was given the baton to rule. In Manipur, the Congress with 28 members was given a shove after the BJP with 21 MLAs cobbled the numbers with regional parties. While it is a foregone conclusion that nothing will change, at least the Opposition would get the satisfaction of showing chink in the BJP armour!
Assam Citizens Wary
Assam is peeved over the Citizenship Bill. Protests were held on Tuesday last in Guwahati, as people aligned to all political parties expressed anger against granting of Indian citizenship to Hindu foreigners. Their fear it will ‘threaten the existence of State’s indigenous people,’ and was aimed specifically at the JPC, which began hearing on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, tabled in Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 and to make illegal migrants belonging to 6 communities – Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Parsis – eligible for citizenship after residing in the country for six years. The visit to the NE State was under public pressure to incorporate views of organizations/individuals, as many said it would breach clauses of the Assam Accord, which states all illegal foreigners who came to the State after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of religion, must be deported. Importantly, AGP, the ruling BJP’s partner is unwilling to support the Bill, as it makes the anti-foreigner agitation worthless. A foreigner is a foreigner, whether Hindu or Muslim, is the crux. Will the Government heed?
W Bengal Muscle Power
Victory or a farce is a question to be asked of West Bengal. The ruling TMC is upbeat with its near-clean sweep in the Panchayat polls. Party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted on Thursday last: “TMC has emerged victorious in 90% seats despite the Opposition parties coming together. This shows how strong we are at the grassroot level”. Really? What she has chosen to discount is that these elections were marred by widespread violence with 18 people killed and scores injured. Worse, candidates were stopped from filing nominations by armed goons and the State Election Commission had to order re-polling in over 500 booths across 19 districts! In such a scenario, the BJP coming a distant second, the CPM in third position and the Congress a fourth is no surprise. Didi’s muscle flexing is no match too.
J&K Peace Idea
A month of peace is what the Centre is praying for in Jammu & Kashmir. On Wednesday last, it offered a Ramzan peace initiative by asking the security forces to desist from launching offensive operations and instead facilitating fasting in a peaceful environment. But not cart blanche. There will be ‘unilateral suspension of operations’ alright but if challenged by terrorists, the armed forces can retaliate or ‘if such action is essential to protect lives of innocent people’, or there will be no holding back if information is confirmed of ultras being in a certain location. While some see New Delhi taking a risk with the move, others feel the month-long halt may help as the request came from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and would go down well with the people. The separatists as usual are skeptical. What is the road map ahead, asks Hurriyat’s Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “Is the GoI doing us a favour by saying we won’t kill you for a month but will start once the holy month of Ramzan is over?” The terrorists would be best to answer if peace is given a chance.
Kerala FB Thumbs Up
‘God’s Own Country’ is beaming. Kerala Tourism’s Facebook page has relegated two favorites -Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat’s Tourism Facebook pages to second and third place respectively, as it boosts of 1.5 million likes to take No 1 slot across the country in 2017. Facebook’s ranking was based on the ‘total engagement with tourists’, which included reactions, comments and shares on the page for the entire year. Indeed, the State’s famous backwaters, enchanting virgin beaches, national parks and high ranges continue to entice the travelers. The Government obviously has given top priority to tourism and raised its digital marketing budget by 15%. Will the Facebook’s top-ranking pat egg on Kerala to improve its overall ranking of being one of the poorest States in the country? —INFA