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Defeat this conspiracy - The Pioneer

Chandan Mitra/New Delhi ()
Feb 22, 1998

Title: Defeat this conspiracy
Author: Chandan Mitra/New Delhi
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: Feb 22, 1998

This is undoubtedly the darkest hour in the history of the cradle of
Indian civilisation, Uttar Pradesh.

The State has been witness to the systematic devaluation of every norm
of civilised behaviour in politics over the last decade, but what
Governor Romesh Bhandari has committed on Saturday must go down as the
most heinous outrage ever attempted on the democratic process. In
October, he had similarly attempted a public rape of democracy, but
President KR Narayanan's eleventh-hour intervention just about saved it
>from gross dishonour. But Mr Bhandari was obviously waiting for another
opportunity to satiate his lust. This time he was determined not to give
the sentinel a chance. That a man of such dubious antecedents as one
Jagdambika Pal has actually been sworn in as Chief Minister of Uttar
Pradesh should make every citizen of that State hang their heads in
shame. It is of a piece with the appointment of one Satish Prasad Singh
in 1968 as Chief Minister of Bihar for 48 hours, whose only job was to
nominate BP Mandal to the Legislative Council so that he could become
the Chief Minister. UP's electorate, however, cannot entirely evade
responsibility for the farce that is currently being enacted. After all,
they have elected such people as their representatives.

That a Governor, entrusted to defend the Constitution should gleefully
lead its gang-rape is a shocking indictment of a system that allows the
nomination of mohalla-level musclemen to such august offices. This just
reaffirms that outward accourtements, such as indulgence in golf and
other pursuits of the idle rich, cannot alter a person's basic
upbringing. In callous disregard of the Supreme Court judgement in the
SR Bommai case, he has not bothered to give Mr Kalyan Singh a chance to
prove his majority. The conspirators' game plan is to derail the
democratic process itself by conducting a coup less than 24 hours before
polling stations open in the remaining 33 Lok Sabha constituencies of
the State.

Paradoxically, this also provides an opportunity to the electorate. The
time has come for the people to assert their disgust against this kind
of political opportunism and ensure that Uttar Pradesh gets a Government
that does something else besides diverting public funds into private
pockets. A judicious exercise of the franchise might turn the tide yet
and prevent the State from disappearing into a black hole towards which
it is hurtling at a frightening pace.

The PM-in-waiting from Lucknow, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is already on a
fast-unto-death, reminiscent of Morarji Desai's fast in 1975 which
forced Indira Gandhi to eat humble pie in Gujarat. Beyond the immediate
issue of an illicit Government having been conspiratorially installed,
lies the larger question of democratic norms, constitutional propriety
and judicial authority. Without any further delay, the President and, if
necessary, the Supreme court must instruct the rogue authority in
Lucknow to reinstate Mr Kalyan Singh. Simultaneously, he must be asked
to face a vote of confidence in the Assembly within 15 days, in
accordance with the precedent set for the Dilip Parikh Government in
Gujarat. Most importantly, however, every voter who enters a polling
booth in UP today must remember that India looks to him to save
democracy in its hour of dishonour.

Today, every elector in UP is not merely a voter; he is a crusader,
called upon to discharge a duty so that democracy might live in India.

>>End of forwarded message<<


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