The political churning in Rajasthan has presented us with the occasion and opportunity to debate upon the role and powers of the governor. The office of the governor has widely been misused by vested interests to topple and dislodge the democratically elected people’s government if there is any difference in political beliefs, ethics, values, and ideologies.
In Rajasthan, despite the assertion made by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of having the numbers to run the government the governor, Kalraj Mishra looks in no mood to heed to the advice of the ministers of the state government. I am made to understand that the ongoing feud between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot has almost derailed the process of governance and policy legislation leaving the people in chaos and crisis especially when the numbers of Corona are at a peak in the state.
The much-hyped Bhilwara model which made headlines earlier is hardly finding any mentions in any of the television debates and primetime except for the coverage of the subsequent desert desertions and drama fuelled by the open rebellion and revolt of Sachin Pilot against the central leadership of the party.
If his ire was directed towards the Gandhis, then why Pilot seems to be after the Gehlot government in which for around one and a half years he served as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state along with the charge of Congress Party President. If he had the support of say around twenty MLAs than certainly, he should have waited for an audience with the central leadership of the Congress in clarifying his point against Gehlot if there was any.
Contrarily challenging the notice served by the Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi in the Rajasthan High Court asking for why action should not be initiated against Pilot and his flock for toeing the party line and discipline as the use of the term ‘Whip’ did add to a lot of conflict and contradiction.
This was understood by Pilot group camping in Manesar as a step towards their disqualification from the state assembly as they were forced to take it up in the high court which sort of gave interim relief to Pilot for now after Pilot made the Central government a party in the case. The matter is expected to be heard in the Supreme Court on Monday shedding a light on the roles and powers of the Governor in such a matter whereby the authority of the house speaker has been made redundant and defunct.
If the judiciary were to question the credentials of the speaker than it would have been legitimate to enquire the grounds on which a speaker made any decision but didn’t in the first place except for a show-cause notice to the rebel MLAs. Also, the discretionary powers of the speaker allow him to arrive at such decisions in consonance with the interests of the assembly legislators the Court can only correct the order of the speaker when it in direct conflict with the constitutional provisions.
In March 2016, the Uttrakhand High court ruled in favour of Harish Rawat, former Chief Minister Uttrakhand by asking for the disqualified MLAs to take the floor test to prove the majority for running the Congress-led government in the state.
I remember how enthusiastic and energetic Shivraj Singh Chauhan became after Jyotiraditya Scindia walked in with twenty-two Congress MLAs in the BJP earlier this year as the former didn’t bother at all to ask and enquire for the opinion and suggestion of the Madhya Pradesh governor. Rules are different in principle and practice.
The media has forgotten what happened in Maharashtra late last November when the governor secretly made Devendra Fadnavis the Chief Minister. The office and institution of the governor were duly undermined, neglected, compromised, and looked upon as serving the larger political aspirations and interests of the party in power. It has happened earlier and will continue to if we are unable to put an end to the patronage system of Indian politics. This has dealt a severe blow to the autonomy and independence of the constitutionally and democratically defined institutions guided by a brute majority of the present dispensation at the centre simmering a perpetual crisis of ensuring accountability and maintaining credibility.
Presenting a discord and disenchantment with the democratic held belief and consensus of the people, the Rajasthan fiasco offers us the choice and chance to perform what is right as per the letter and spirit of the constitution.