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Government by default and contrivance - The Times of India

Cho S Ramaswamy ()
February 20, 1998

Title: Government by default and contrivance
Author: Cho S Ramaswamy
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 20, 1998

In about a fortnight we would have an elected government. Or, to
be more precise, an erected government.

That the new government is going to be a fabrication and a
counterfeit at that is now beyond doubt.

We the people are again electing only members of Parliament and
not a government. The members of Parliament who in effect are our
delegates would contrive a government. Those who opposed each
other in the elections and whipped up our passions would come
together in Parliament and share power at the Centre to spare us
another election.

The moment the elections are over, our vote is going to become
irrelevant and would have no bearing whatsoever on the government
that will be forged. We should have no cause for complaint for
having elected a hung Parliament; we must accept the merciless
hanging of principles as a corollary.

Those MPs who won the elections by obtaining our votes for
opposing the corrupt Congress party would have no hesitation in
supporting and sharing power with it as after the elections they
would realise that their duty is to prevent communalism from
coming to power at the Centre.

'Fighting corruption', which loomed large as the issue during the
elections, would then evaporate making way for "containment of
communalism" which would, become the issue in the formation of
the government.

On the other hand if the BJP is positioned with its allies
somewhere very near a majority, then those who opposed it in the
election on grounds of secularism would join hands with it in
Parliament on grounds of stability.

After all we have developed the panacea called "the common
minimum programme to eradicate all ideological differences.

The "communalism" of the BJP could after the elections be
consumed and digested in a common minimum programme which would
eschew all convictions.

So even if the next Parliament is hung, a government for the
people will be fashioned from out of an electoral verdict which
would deny all our political parties the authority to govern the
people. Because we the people judge each and every party to be
unfit to govern us, they the rejected parties would jointly get
the right to rule us.

We would have a government by collaboration, going under the name
of a government by coalition. And that is perfectly
constitutional.

Thus while we the voters, in spite of us, are assured of a
government, we also have the guarantee of a sumptuous supply of
possible prime ministers. Having decided decades back that we
cannot look for accountability in a Prime Minister, on other
grounds we have several options.

If the BJP is marketing Vajpayee on grounds of ability, Jyoti
Basu has offered himself on grounds of availability. And of
course we have I K Gujral on grounds of amiability.

We can accept Manmohan Singh on grounds of anonymity with the
masses, P A Sangma on grounds of affability with one and all,
Chandra Shekhar on grounds of possibility at all times, and
Mulayam Singh on grounds of animosity towards all. And, finally,
Sonia Gandhi on grounds of inevitability.

No other nation could have been blessed with such a variety of
prospective Prime Ministers. The tragedy is that we may need
them. For we cannot be sure of the number of governments that the
next Lok Sabha would produce.

We in this election are voting not for a government but for an
entertainment. We have asked for it, and we are going to get it.
It is going to be either a Congress-led comic opera or a BJP-led
Bhara-tanatyam. God forbid a United Front-led burlesque.


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