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Standing disgrace - The Hindustan Times

Editorial ()
February 23,1998

Titlle: Standing disgrace
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: February 23,1998

Thanks to Governor Romesh Bhandari, Uttar Pradesh has attained the state
of ultimate absurdity. Never in the short history of parliamentary
democracy in India had one man so comprehensively disgraced the high
constitutional office of Governor in so short a time as Mr Bhandari.
Article 156 of the Constitution says that Governors hold office at the
pleasure of the President. No President, least of all a punctiliously
scrupulous one like Mr K. R. Narayanan, would have viewed with pleasure
the political antics of Mr Bhandari from the day he assumed office. But
Mr Bhandari's latest act of swearing in an itinerant group of defectors
numbering 22 to form a government in the country's most populous State
ranks in criminality with the worst form of rape that of democracy. No
doubt, this very gang of 22 enabled Mr Kalyan Singh to save his
government five months ago. Neither the manner in which Mr Kalyan Singh
acquired his majority nor his jumbo ministry's performance since then
entitles him to any posture of injured innocence. But, undeniably, his
majority was constitutionally proved even if immorally acquired and
dubiously sustained. Morality is not the prime mover among all those
parties, which together amount to nine times the strength of the new
defector government of Mr Jagadambika Pal, coming to his support.
Even a partisan Governor, if he were convinced that the incumbent Chief
Minister has lost his majority, would have ordered a floor test to prove
the fact. Of course, considering how the legislators in Uttar Pradesh
behaved during the last floor test, the three days that Mr Bhandari has
given to Mr Jagadambika Pal to prove his majority would mean another
round of bestial violence inside the Assembly at Lucknow. But if anyone
had the right to seek a trust vote on Feb. 27, it is Mr Kalyan Singh and
not Mr Jagadambika Pal. It would be fervently hoped that the Assembly on
Tuesday would not have throwable objects like mikes, slippers, etc.
though it would still leave open the possibility of physical combats and
fisticuffs. Ideally, Uttar Pradesh should do with a spell of President's
rule but a prerequisite for that is to have a new Governor to administer
the State in the name of the President. Any Governor who changes a
government hours before the voters of the region are scheduled to go to
the polls to elect a new national Parliament will not go on his own. Mr
Bhandari must be removed forthwith.

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