- How is the swearing-in of a BJP government with a defector as partner considered an emergency?
- Was it an act of war?
- Or a financial crisis that can also be described as an emergency.
- Kovind, gave his go-ahead and then his representative in Mumbai, the Governor of Maharashtra, a former BJP leader B.S. Koshiyari, who is particularly close to Modi agreed to the swearing in at 6.30 am.
Dear reader, let me confess right at the outset of this edition of SWAT Analysis that I have no clue about how the Maha (large) Maharashtra government drama will eventually pan out.
We don’t know yet whether nephew, Ajit Pawar actually betrayed the National Congress Party (NCP) and his uncle Sharad Pawar. Junior Pawar, NCP defector, is currently deputy chief minister to the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who is back as chief minister in an early morning coup.
The Supreme Court will today (Sunday) rule on the series of messy events that were triggered by constitutional functionaries from the BJP to grab power in India’s richest state – Maharashtra, which also sends the second largest contingent (48) to Parliament.
What we do know, however, paints a dark portrait of the series of dubious “masterstrokes,” which were unleashed to carry out a power grab by the BJP and the central government in Mumbai.
Consider this chain of actions which culminated in Fadnavis again. India woke up to lead stories in all mainstream newspapers on Saturday riffing on Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be chief minister of Maharashtra.
And what we do now know makes every player look terrible in their lusty pursuit of power sans any ethical constraints.
How it all played out
Barely had the newsprint dried of Uddhav as chief minister, when a news agency known for its close links to the BJP started flashing its “scoop” of the swearing in of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar as chief minister and deputy respectively.
To ensure that they got the prize of Mumbai and Maharashtra, the Modi and Shah duo woke up the President of India Ram Nath Kovind at 5.47am to sign on the revocation of President’s rule in Maharashtra.
The normal process is the Cabinet convening and passing a resolution, which is then signed on by the President. The Modi Cabinet did not meet, did not pass a resolution for the President. Modi used “emergency” provisions of the Constitution to send the resolution to Kovind who obediently signed on.
How is the swearing-in of a BJP government with a defector as partner considered an emergency?
Was it an act of war?
Or a financial crisis that can also be described as an emergency.
Kovind, gave his go-ahead and then his representative in Mumbai, the Governor of Maharashtra, a former BJP leader B.S. Koshiyari, who is particularly close to Modi agreed to the swearing in at 6.30 am. By time time it happened it was 7.30am. Note the alacrity in facilitating the BJP comeback in the financial capital of India Mumbai.
Significantly, Ajit Pawar who claimed that he had all the 54 elected MLA’s with him and gave a letter to this effect to Koshiyari, was not questioned or his claims verified by officials. The office of governor exists precisely for independently vetting and verifying such claims.
Now all except four MLA’s are back with Pawar senior, who has publicly called his nephew a liar, who gave an attendance list to the governor. Pawar has also expelled his nephew as the head of the legislature party.
The soap opera in the Pawar family continues with daughter Supriya Sule publicly lamenting how she has been let down by someone she loved and trusted.
While Ajit Pawar has serious Enforcement Directorate cases against him, which clearly helped the BJP to “persuade” him, what of our President and Governor - high constitutional functionaries who are supposed to only be guided and protect the Constitution of India?
Were Kovind and Koshiyari fit for the purpose? Guided only by the Constitution. Will the Supreme Court step in and restore the balance and also reset the norms of the highest functionaries in the land?
The short answer, I simply don’t know. I would have to say on balance Modi has not yet met an institution of democracy that he has not immediately itched to destroy. And the past six years in India are replete with independent institutions which are the checks and balances of democracy caving into the sustained Modi pressure.
Read more from Swati Chaturvedi
- As second generation leaders exit the BJP, the mask is off
- Welcome to the world of unparalleled product marketing: Modi the Mendicant
- India’s knight in shining armour, Amit is the Shah of all he surveys and Narendra Modi’s heir apparent
- New Indian Cabinet: Modi 2 government sees the dawn of a new Shah
- Amit Shah sounds the whistle – Muslims to be targeted again in India with another NRC
- Bollywood: From angry young men on screen to docile, convenient ambassadors of the Narendra Modi government
Did I mention the role of my own institution - a free press?
Well these days we clap like puppets at dodgy masterstrokes. We lavish breathless praise at the diminishing of democracy. And we only interrogate the Opposition. Far from safeguarding democracy we thrill at venal politics.
The Press has truly let India down by aiding in the demonetisation of democracy.
We will eventually have a government in Maharashtra, but this brazen attack on institutions is letting Indian democracy down.