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BJP bid to grab power wrong - Deccan Herald
BJP bid to grab power wrong
Bengaluru, March 15, 2017, DHNS
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The BJP's attempts to grab power in Goa and Manipur after the Assembly elections in both the states are morally, politically and legally wrong. The Congress emerged as the single largest party in the two states but it is the BJP which moved fast in its bid to form governments, helped by the governors. Manohar Parrikar has been sworn in as chief minister in Goa and N Biren Singh, leader of the BJP legislature party, has been invited by the governor in Manipur to form the government. He will be sworn in on Wednesday. Parrikar has to prove his majority in the Assembly on Thursday, as directed by the Supreme Court. But he has the advantage of already being in power and is therefore better placed to win the trust vote. In both states, the BJP is at an advantage because the governors are pliable and the power and pelf that go with being in power at the Centre helped the party in its efforts to form governments.

When no party gets absolute majority in an election, the convention is that the leader of the single largest party is invited for consultations about forming the government. The BJP has no first claim in Goa because it has only 13 elected members in a House of 40 while the Congress has 17. The election loss was a setback to the BJP which was in power. Its chief minister and five of his ministers lost badly. The BJP moved in at breakneck speed to garner support of small parties and independents before staking its claim. But the convention is that such an alliance would be considered for government formation only if it existed before the election. The Sarkaria Commission has also laid this down clearly. The BJP's claim does not meet this criterion. This convention may have been violated in the past, and while the BJP had strongly criticised the violation when it was in the opposition, the party has no compunction about justifying such a wrong practice when it stands to gain from it now.

In Manipur also, the Congress is the largest party, having won 28 seats against the BJP's 21 in the 60-member Assembly. But the BJP has staked its claim to form the government with the support of other parties. The convention should be respected here also and the BJP should be given a chance only if the Congress conveys it officially that it is unable to muster the necessary strength. Governors, being constitutional functionaries, should go by the best constitutional practices and conventions and should not act partisan. Governors in Goa and Manipur, Mridula Sinha Najma Heptulla, respectively, have acted wrongly.