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Tuesday 21, January 2020
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A dirty drama

The Supreme Court has saved the Constitution yet again, ironically on the Constitution Day, by ordering a floor test on Wednesday to prove who has the majority to rule Maharashtra.

The Supreme Court has saved the Constitution yet again, ironically on the Constitution Day, by ordering a floor test on Wednesday to prove who has the majority to rule Maharashtra. Soon after the apex court’s Tuesday morning decision, the protagonists one by one rang down the curtains on the dirty drama: first, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and then, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis submitted their resignations, putting an end to an ugly twist in the tale that began early Saturday morning when President’s rule was revoked, invoking emergency provisions at 5.47 am, which was followed by the Maharashtra Governor swearing in Fadnavis, and the leader of the breakaway faction of the NCP, Ajit Pawar, in Raj Bhawan at 7.50 am, keeping the media and the public out.

No political party can come out of this theatre of hypocrisy with any claims to constitutional morality or ideological integrity. For, the Shiv Sena, which mainstreamed xenophobia and militant Hindutva, is now being hailed as a secular alternative to the BJP by its new-found allies, the Congress and the NCP; and the BJP, which has always accused the Congress of turning the offices of the Governor and the President into party extension counters, is now being held guilty on this very account.

The precipitous fall in our despicable standards of political discourse began when the Shiv Sena refused to acknowledge the people’s mandate, which was emphatically in favour of the BJP-Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance, with the BJP winning 105 seats and Sena 56; a comfortable majority in a House of 289. But the Sena wanted its nominee to be CM. That led to this new low in Indian politics, when a junior partner decided to break a winning pre-poll alliance, seeking out rivals in its quest for power. Its unbridled ambition offered a grand opportunity to the defeated Opposition, the NCP and the Congress, to grab power. Meanwhile, Pawar’s offer to support the BJP remains a mystery. Fortunately, the Supreme Court brought the legislators back to the Assembly, drawing to a close resort politics and hotel-headcount with the landmark order to have an open ballot. Democracy decays in darkness.

 

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