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Triumph of principle - The Observer

Editorial ()
July 6, 1998

Title: Triumph of principle
Author: Editorial
Publication: The Observer
Date: July 6, 1998

It appears that Ms Jayalalitha has decided to continue her
party's support to the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre
only after realising that she pushed herself into a corner. The
immediate impact of her belated. wisdom will be naturally on the
Union budget, which may now sail through in Parliament. Given
the adverse international environment India confronts now, the
nation could ill-afford trouble over the passage of the budget.
It also looked at one time - due to Ms Jayalalitha's obstinacy,
of course - that the government would not be able to get the
budget passed - a possibility which would have led to the fall of
the government along with attendant instability.

However, it may be noted that Ms Jayalalitha's support is still
conditional and 'for now'. So, for BJP, it has just won a battle,
not the war. But the manner in which the battle has been won
shows the way to win the war - the war to attain stability and
provide stable governance to the nation. First, to build and
sustain a coalition, the leading partner needs ample patience,
something the BJP leaders displayed in their dealings with
AIADMK. Second, the whole episode - thus far - carries an
Invaluable political lesson for the party: No matter what the
odds are, a firm, principled stand pays in the end. BJP's rift
with AIADMK is not on politics, not on sharing power, but on a
principle. The principle is not to misuse Article 356 for
partisan purposes. Despite her peculiar compulsions, Ms
Jayalalitha, too, knows what she is fighting against.

One may dismiss the BJP-AIADMK roller-coaster relationship as an
internal matter of the coalition government. But, the whole
affair has established a new tradition against the misuse of
Article 356. Not long ago, the Centre used to dismiss opposition-
ruled state governments at the drop of the hat. There were
occasions, too, when the axe of Article 356 fell on state
governments without any reason. Now such a possibility is a thing
of the past. If a central government has to risk its very
survival to uphold this principle, it Is good for the nation.
What is more, that central government quite convincingly proved
its point.

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