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Message of UP - The Free Press Journal

Editorial ()
February 25, 1998

Title: Message of UP
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: February 25, 1998

If the horrendous events of the last couple of days in Uttar
Pradesh fail to stir the collective conscience of all thinking
Indians, the future of the Republic is indeed bleak. It is not
necessary for anyone to pour out on the streets to protest the
ugly assault against the Constitution by that evil Romesh
Bhandari. That, we presume, will be done by political parties
immediately affected by UP Governor's foul deed. Nor is anyone
who has the good of the nation at hew expected to physically lift
the UP Governor out of his constitutional office which he had so
thoroughly disgraced yet again. Soon the ultimate guardian of the
Republic, that is, the President of India will have to assert his
moral authority to ensure Bhandari's removal. But the thinking
classes can register their protest against the grotesque
constitutional monstrosity in UP by going out in large numbers to
exercise their franchise. They must not fall a prey to the
cynical though fashionable view that their vote wouldn't make a
difference. It would. For if they exercise their right to vote
properly they can teach a lesson to crooks like Bhandari and his
masters in the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan
Samaj Party. These parties colluded with Bhandari. Each had their
own reason for toppling the Kalyan Singh Government on the eve of
the second phase of polling in UP. Mulayam Singh Yadav wanted to
make certain that he won the next day's election in Sambhal. And
he did it with impunity thanks to the unlawful removal of the
Kalyan Singh Government. The paramilitary forces posted in the
Sambhal parliamentary constituency were withdrawn overnight and
replaced by the notorious Provincial Armed Constabulary which
allowed Yadav's goons to capture booths. One of the first acts of
the usurper government installed by Bhandari was to replace the
Director-General of Police. The new police boss had Yadav's BJP
rival held under 'house arrest' throughout the day of the
polling. That Sambhal town reported over 90 per cent polling
itself was proof enough of the farce enacted by Yadav's goons.
(It is another matter that the CEC M. S. Gill would rather play
golf and have his after lunch siesta than exert himself to ensure
a free and fair poll.) Likewise Mayawati too ran riot on the poll
day in her constituency.

But Yadav's hijacking of the poll in Sambhal was nothing compared
to the enormity of the crime committed by Bhandari. Make no
mistake about it. Bhandari is not the agent of the President, K.
R. Narayanan, in the Lucknow Raj Bhawan. He is the agent of the
assorted Congress and SP wheeler-dealers who appointed him to the
high-profile sinecure following his retirement as a controversial
career diplomat. As a diplomat, Bhandari was happy networking for
personal gains with the likes of Chandraswamy and Adnan Khasoggi
rather than furthering India's interests. Forgery and fraud are
second nature to crooks like Bhandari. Not long ago he
Statesman' had exposed the conspiracy hatched by Bhandari to
slander L. K. Advani, V P. Singh. The plan involved the forgery
of documents purported to reveal off-shore bank deposits of
Advani and Singh. This was by no means the only known criminal
act of Bhandari. Precisely because he could stoop so low, he had
endeared himself to certain politicians, notably, Mulayams Singh
and Arjun Singh of the Congress. That would explain his
occupation of the Lucknow Bhawan which if he had any iota of
shame he would have vacated the moment the Allahabad High court
reversed his mischievous act.

However contrary to what that fixer-turned-politician Amar Singh,
the spokesman of the SP, says there is no parallel in the
dismissal of the Yadav Government in 1995 by the then Governor
Motilal Vora and Bhandari's illegal sack of Kalyan Singh last
weekend. After Mayawati withdrew support, Yadav refused to
convene the State Assembly for a confidence vote and instead
mounted a physical assault on the BSP camp to kidnap their MLAs.
Singh had offered to prove his majority but was peremptorily
sacked. It must be remembered that under Yadav UP had plunged
into near anarchy with even the Allahabad High Court forced to
summon the Army to protect itself against the marauding SP goons.

Two additional points need be made. One, that the ultimate
affront to the Constitution was not when Bhandari sacked the
Kalyan Singh Government. It was when Bhandari willfully
disregarded the advice of Head of the Republic. For that act
alone he needs to be dismissed forthwith. The other message from
the sordid UP drama is that a goody-goody man like I. K. Gujral
cannot be relied upon to do the right thing by the nation. A weak
Prime Minister is a recipe for disaster. Throughout the crisis,
Gujral has refused to utter a word. Neutrality in the face of
such an outrage is criminal. As for the Communists, they have
truly disgraced themselves along with Bhandari. For much less,
the same Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet had sought the
dismissal of Bhandari when as the Governor of Tripura he needled
the Left Front Government. But in their blind anti-BJPism, they
were willing to condone the most egregious act of Bhandari. It is
this partisanship which has destroyed the system of governance.
Finally, there is a lesson for the BJP in it too. It should
choose to sit in the Opposition rather than cobble together
opportunistic alliances with political traders who were ready to
sell themselves to the highest bidder.

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