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HVK Archives: We are proud of you, Shri Narayanan

We are proud of you, Shri Narayanan - Organiser

Posted By Krishnakant Udavant (kkant@bom2.vsnl.net.in)
March 8, 1998

Title: We are proud of you, Shri Narayanan
Author:
Publication: Organiser
Date: March 8, 1998

The President has merely drawn the Prime Minister's attention to
the constitutional improprieties in UP and sought his views on
the subject. Where I failed to disturb the Prime Minister's
evening walk, the President has tried to wake him from his
slumber.

(Reproduced below is the text of Press statement of senior BJP
leader Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, issued on February 26, 1998, at
New Delhi)

I am pained and anguished at the efforts of some political groups
to drag the highest office of the President into political
controversy. My distress is all the more profound since the,
country today is fortunate to have such a President who not only
is a strict constitutionalist but also commands a moral authority
over the political system. The fact is that these attacks on the
President are being made by those who wish to support the UP
Governor, a gentleman, who has a series of constitutional
misdemeanours to his credit. The campaign by a section of the
United Front against , the ethical and constitution-ally valid
intervention by the President in the Bhandari episode, therefore,
is politically motivated. I call upon all democratic forces in
the country to avoid dragging the Head of State into political
controversies.

The UP Governor in his customary conspiratorial manner replaced
the Government in UP barely ten hours before the second phase of
polling. He violated the recommendations of the Justice Sarkaria
Commission, the Governors' Conference and the mandate of the
Supreme Court in Bommai's case. The pronouncements of the
Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court amount to an
indictment of the Governor.

Despite all this, the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers
did not react. While some Ministers were actively conspiring with
the Governor, some others maintained an intriguing silence.
Should the system be allowed to suffer such "constitutional
monstrosity" of a Governor subverting the system and the Council
of Ministers acquiescing to it? It is here that the President
and the Judiciary both have to rise as the custodians of the
Constitution.

The President is usually bound by the "aid and advice" of the
Union Cabinet. He has only a few discretionary functions. The
1974 judgement of the Supreme Court in Shamsher Singh's case
illustrates few of these functions. But the list is not
exhaustive. There may be situations when "caretaker Governments"
without a mandate subvert the system.

The President would have to step in. What if several Governors
had dismissed all Opposition Governments on the midnight before,
the polling and the Prime Minister had maintained a studied
silence? Would the nation expect the President to be a silent and
helpless spectator? Every fresh constitutional subversion would
give rise to a new dimension to the President's powers.

What has the President eventually done? He has not taken a
position that he is not bound by the "aid and advice" of the
Union Cabinet. He has merely drawn the Prime Minister's attention
to the constitutional improprieties in UP and sought his views on
the subject. Where I failed to disturb the Prime Minister's
evening walk, the President has tried to wake him from his
slumber.

As a guardian of the Constitution, the President has acted for
its protection. As a Constitutionalist, the President has acted
as a elder statesman. As a true umpire of the system he has
displayed his no-nonsense character. The entire nation is with me
when I say, "We are proud of you, Shri Narayanan.

The issue is not why this controversy has surfaced in the media.
India is a democratic Republic. Every system must have
transparency. It is sad that those who stood for the "freedom of
information" laws being enacted are disturbed over the reports of
President's letter to the Prime Minister appearing in the media.
The Presidents must not live behind the purdah. They must speak
rarely, but when they do, the Nation must respect what they say.


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