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Posted at: May 17, 2018, 1:47 AM; last updated: May 17, 2018, 1:48 AM (IST)KARNATAKA DRAMA

Guv has discretion, question is on the way he exercises it

As Guv invites BJP to take shot at power, Cong says he mustn’t resort to ‘perilous path’

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 16

Even as Karnataka Governor Vajibhai Vala invited BS Yeddyurappa, leader of the single largest party (BJP), to form government on Wednesday, the decision has once again brought focus back on the role of Governors who have often been criticised for acting as agents of the ruling party/alliance at the Centre, instead of judiciously exercising the “discretion” vested in them under the Constitution.

The BJP got 104 seats in the 224-member House—eight short of the magic figure of 112. Of the 222 seats for which elections were held, the Congress could win only 78, followed by JD(S) that got 38 seats with its pre-poll ally BSP.

Amid allegations of horse trading, both BJP and post-poll alliance of JD(S) and Congress met the Governor and staked claims to form government. There have been reports that some Congress and JD(S) MLAs may defect and help the BJP cross the half-way mark.

Since no single party or pre-poll alliance has got majority, the Governor’s role assumed significance in exploring the possibility of government formation. According to Article 163 (1) of the Constitution, “There shall be a Council of Ministers with the CM at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.”

Article 163(2) says: “If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.”

The discretion vested in Governors under Article 163 stands on a different footing compared to his powers under Article 356 to recommend imposition of President’s rule in a state.

While the SC has put fetters on his powers under Article 356, the discretion regarding formation of government still gives him leeway that has often been exercised in a manner that raises questions as regards political morality.

Generally, Governors invite the leader of the single largest party in the House to form government. But after the 2017 Goa Assembly elections, Governor Mridula Sinha invited BJP leader Manohar Parrikar. The BJP had won only 13 seats in the 40-member House. The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats, was ignored.

The SC said the issue could be resolved by a simple direction to hold a floor test at the earliest.

Cong resorts to Resort politics

As the ‘resort politics’ returned to Karnataka with a bang, the Eagleton resort at nearby Bidadi is getting decked up to receive Congress MLAs amid fears of intense poaching activities. Kanakapura MLA-elect DK Shivakumar led the Congress MLAs in a luxury bus to the resort. The JD(S) MLA-elect have camped in International hotel chain Shangri-La. Gujarat Congress MLAs had camped at the Eagleton resort as the party feared defection of MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. PTI

Twitter sees over 3 mn mentions

The Karnataka Assembly polls, which have thrown up a hung verdict, created a lot of buzz on Twitter with over three million mentions being generated in three weeks. Between April 25 and May 15, Twitter saw "more than 3 million mentions in relation to the #KarnatakaElections2018". PTI

BJP offered Rs 100-cr to MLAs: JD(S)

Our MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore by the BJP to break away. I want to know whether this is black or white money… The JD(S)-Cong combine has 116 MLAs (including JD(S) pre-poll ally BSP)... the BJP is trying to misuse its power being at the Centre and form its govt through horse-trading. HD Kumaraswamy, JD(S) leader

Not in habit of horse-trading: BJP

This (talk of) Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore is imaginary. The BJP is not doing this. We are not in the habit of practising horse-trading. This is the kind of politics JD(S) and Congress do. We are going by the rule book and we will form the government in Karnataka. Prakash Javadekar, Union minister

Approached by BJP: BSP MLA

The lone BSP MLA, N Mahesh, on Wednesday claimed he was approached by BJP office-bearers to support the party in its government-formation efforts. “However, I asked them to get in touch with our national leader Mayawati. I am firmly with the JD(S),” he told reporters in Bengaluru. PTI

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