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Posted at: May 18, 2018, 12:39 AM; last updated: May 18, 2018, 12:39 AM (IST)

Fluidity in Karnataka

Apex court and resort politics
Fluidity in Karnataka

The Supreme Court’s rare pre-dawn hearing helped calm the politically troubled waters in Karnataka. At its next hearing today, it will take up the crucial letter submitted by newly-minted Karnataka CM B S Yedurappa to the Karnataka Governor. The Supreme Court's involvement is a critical intervention in a battle of partisans with none ready to back down. This was not the first time that the electorate threw up a hung mandate nor is it the first time that those unable to make it to the treasury benches have cried foul. On similar occasions in the past; the recent examples are Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the judiciary had to weigh in after the political class remained at odds with each other.

The Supreme Court has rightly refused to get drawn into issuing directions to the Governor.  However, making it clear that while the Governor is not liable for his action, the court said it was well within its rights to hold a judicial review of his decision. Recent fractured verdicts and applications of different solutions in six states -- Meghalaya, Manipur, Goa, Delhi, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir - does make the Governor’s role contentious, especially if his appointment is not even remotely close to the preferences set out by the Sarkaria Commission. 

In this zero-sum game where there are too many grey areas, the manner in which the Governor exercises his discretion is of utmost importance. The long rope of 15 days to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority has, as expected, left the field open for malign influences to come into play. The Governor must back his decision on government formation with the intention of promoting a healthy democracy. Resort politics, the product of the Governor’s decision, may in the end come to nothing. But this harmful tendency not only disfigures the electorate's will, it erodes the standing of the politician in public eye even further. Those opposing Yeddyurappa’s ascension as CM are aware that they were in the dock on similar charges during their stint in power. While the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, it is up to the entire political class to improve its game.  


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