By Sushil Kutty
Movement is an anxiety-buster. Husbands stalking corridors outside labour-rooms! The mobile rings and people are up on their feet, walking, talking! It’s therapeutic movement. So, the Congress-JD(S) alliance moved their MLAs from resort/hotel in Bengaluru to Taj and Hyatt in Hyderabad. But, no sooner did they come to rest, the Supreme Court ordered them to get on the move, again: The floor test will take place Saturday 4 pm, less than 36 hours; no secret ballot, only a show of hands. CM BSY should not take any policy decisions till and if/when he wins! Kaput.
That puts to rest at least one anxiety: No horse-trading. With the DGP told to provide security to MLAs till they arrive to vote, the Chief Minister’s hands are tied and the Governor more or less confined to the Raj Bhavan to make faces at himself in the mirror! The senior-most member of the House is a Congress MLA and he will be the protem speaker. That is advantage Congress. Except that the protem speaker has no vote!
So, it is anxiety, anxiety and more anxiety in both camps. The question before Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan were two: 1) single-largest party or post-poll alliance? 2) floor test, when? Governor Vajubhai Vala called single-largest party BJP to form government. He also gave Yeddyurappa 15 days. The court at the midnight hearing refused to restrain the Governor’s order and BSY became CM. But within 48 hours and BSY could end up as the shortest-lived CM. He has to prove majority and has just about 36 hours to make good his promise to the Governor, that he enjoys majority – more than the required 112 MLAs. Who knows, he might be the multi-headed Ravanna. JD(S) has a Revanna!
At Friday’s hearing, Congress party counsel Abhijeet Manu Singhvi, after raising some questions on the BJP list of support, agreed to a floor test in “24 hours”. BJP counsel Mukul Rohtagi sought more time, at least till Monday. If the BJP had asked for it before Singhvi agreed to it, Rohtagi would have stolen a march over the Congress. Unfortunately, for the BJP, he was a little too confident. The court with one stroke struck for transparency, and no time given for hanky-panky – go climb a tree or come down to the floor.
Whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s comparison of the judiciary in India to that of the judicial wreck in Pakistan hung like a dark cloud in the confines of the SC was not known but Friday, after the SC ordered a floor test within 24 hours, Rahul tweeted that the order vindicated the Congress contention that Guv Vala “acted unconstitutionally” and that now the BJP will try to use “muscle and money” to win the trust vote.
Talk about some guys never satisfied, their anxiety-level always on the edge, keeping them on the move, from diatribe to dictum. Thursday, Rahul was a curmudgeon. Friday, he turned happy camper! The problem these days is people, whether left or right, line up facts as they see them, but in the telling of facts give truth a miss. It’s a malady in this age of social media and fake news. And that is the truth!
One good fallout of Friday’s SC order was the Congress back to singing praise of the judiciary for playing its rightful role in “saving democracy”. That should once and for all shut up the Congress from harking back to the unprecedented presser of the “senior-most four”. Good riddance, too. For, if anything, the presser on the lawn did more harm to the judiciary than any comparison to the judicial wreck in Pakistan, that floundering capsized ship on dry-land!
“Once again the highest court of the land rose to the occasion,” Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke in glowing terms of the “honourable court”, welcoming the court’s decision for “its uprighted-ness”. It’s nobody’s guess as to what the Congress reaction would have been if Justices Sikri, Bobde and Bhushan had given BSY time till Monday! People of India should always keep in mind that all decisions/verdicts should henceforth go in favour of the Congress or else democracy will be under threat. Life itself is a curmudgeon and who wants a fault-finder!
That said the 3-judge bench did say that the “post-poll alliance” did not have the “people’s mandate” and that neither protagonist had numbers to show as per their wish-lists. So, the immediate call for transparency and a floor test within 24 hours, tomorrow at 4 pm, and a hearing at a later stage on what should prevail – single-largest or post-poll alliance?
If Singhvi did spring in the air hearing that, it didn’t show because outside the court, the sweltering heat was building up and it was time for the Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Hyderabad to be up and running, back to Bengaluru with three cops to each MLA to guard their flanks. DGP hear that!
Justices Sikri, Bobde and Bhushan also said it was out and out a “numbers game”, so count the heads and be done with it. Post-verdict, the Congress expressed confidence the alliance has 118 MLAs. CM-for-name only BS Yeddyurappa maintained the BJP will rule with 120. One Congress MLA Anand Singh is missing, feared held in an iron ore mine in Bellary by the Galli Reddy bros, where no three cops dare enter! The BJP also hopes a few Lingayat MLAs from the rival camp will do the Lingayat BSY a favour, be among those hands that rise for the BJP!
Win or lose, the bigger worry for the Modi-Shah election machine is that the national opposition alliance is beginning to realize its strength – divided we fall, united we trounce Modi-Shah! 2019 is gonna be a curmudgeon! For now, it’s the race to the Vidhana Soudha and a game of poker, the show of hands to find out who’s got the fingers to raise the toast – V for Victory! That should put all anxiety to rest. Will it be adieu sweet Yeddy? (IPA Service)