Union Minister for Science and Technology and prominent Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal tried his Mark Antony act once again. The first time was in the early 1990s when he bamboozled Members of Parliament with rhetorical flourishes in the Justice Ramaswami impeachment case. The MPs were spellbound. And the cunning P.V.Narasimha Rao government bailed out a judge who was under cloud. Sibal played an important role as spokesman of the Congress Party in the run up to the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. He was quite effective in that role. Now he comes to the forefront once again as Uttar Pradesh is embroiled in a political crisis, which is not uncommon for the troubled state.
The Supreme Court had disqualified 13 members of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who went out of the BSP, formed another party before merging with the Samajwadi Party (SP), which was then able to from the government in the state which had a hung assembly. At that time, the Congress Party quietly supported the Mulayam Singh government a part of their rhetorical stand against the communal politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But as state assembly elections are due this year, the Congress has begun to sing a new electoral song. Mr Sibal had emerged as a lead singer on Saturday when he told journalists that the Mulayam Singh government was both illegal and immoral, and said that any party that did not favour the dismissal of the Mulayam Singh government was immoral as well.
It is futile to analyse the legal and moral depth of Mr Sibal's statement. Because it is completely hollow. Legally, the Supreme Court judgement did not say anything about the constitutionality of the Mulayam Singh government. The 13 disqualified members of the state assembly will affect the majority of the ruling coalition in the assembly. Nothing more. It is only melodramatic players who will infer more than what the Supreme Court judgement has explicitly said in the judgement. So, Mr Sibal is abandoning his legal common sense and indulging in mere political histrionics.
Then comes the shameful role of Uttar Pradesh Governor T. Rajeshwar. He had been playing the the role of a partisan for quite some time now, and he has been encouraged in it by the Congress leaders in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Delhi. Mr Rajeshwar is trying to play the same untenable role of a Central Government's agent as did Mr Romesh Bhandari in Uttar Pradesh in 1996 and Mr Ramlal in Andhra Pradesh in 1984 during the overthrow of the N.T.Rama Rao government and replacing it with that of Nadendla Bhaskara Rao government supported by the Congress Party.
The Congress Party has the dubious distinction of using the governors in the states as players in the game of politics. It is not so much the fault of the Congress leaders, who do not believe in political morality as such, but of the governors themselves who let themselves be used in a demeaning role.
The Congress Party has devalued the constitutional office of the governor so much that there is no alternative but to abolish the post if the federalism is to have meaning in the Indian political system.
The BJP is only too willing to be an accomplice in the immoral and illegal game of toppling the Mulayam Singh government through the ruse of the imposition of President's Rule by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution. It prides itself in playing a passive role in the whole drama. It just goes to show that the BJP like the Congress is an unprincipled party.
Ironically, it is the Communist parties, which are in principle opposed to 'bourgeois democracy' that are upholding the Constitution by refusing to support the cunning move of the Congress Party to impose President's Rule in Uttar Pradesh.
Mulayam Singh Yadav is no political angel, but he is being catapulted into that haloed position by the lowly games being played by the Congress leaders.
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