The Political crisis in the hill state Uttarakhand started more than month ago when few legislatures from the ruling Congress party revolted against their own chief Minister Harish Rawat inside the house during the budget session of state assembly and political uncertainty prevailed over political stability.
Minutes after the revolt of few Congress legislatures against their own leadership the high voltage political drama beings with every passing moment was value addition in this drama with allegations and counter allegations between ruling Congress and opposition BJP for conspiring against each other and indulging in horse trading and it created more confusion in reading the real political or legal situation on ground.
The opposition BJP made allegations against speaker of house for overreaching his jurisdiction in disqualifying the 9 rebel Congress legislators and giving an elbow room to Harish Rawat to manage with numbers on the floor test as Governor of the state allowed the Chief Minister to prove his majority in house. But barely 24 hours before the floor test for Harish Rawat government was due the central government recommended the proclamation of president rule in the state and imposed the article 356 of the constitution as in their opinion state government was unable to perform its constitutional obligations and president rule was the necessity of the hour .
The decision of the central government to recommend the president to impose the president rule in state was not only criticized by the opposition across the board but the deposed Chief Minister of uttarakhand challenged the president rule in to high court and after hearing the arguments of both Central government and Former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand the Honorable High court pulled up Central government in its several observations and ultimately gave new twist to the whole saga with its verdict to overrule the President rule in state and reinstated the Harish Rawat government but the verdict of High Court was not the ultimate closer of the ongoing crisis and 24 hours after the decision of High court the Union government of India knocked the doors of apex court and got the stay on the High court order and President rule was again imposed in the state and Harish Rawat who retrieved his Chief Ministership was forced to again call himself the former Chief Minister .
Since the political crisis in Uttarakhand has erupted and various dramatic twist and turns this issue has taken two parallel debates have surrounded this whole issue , one debate is centered around the legalities of the whole issue and other is its political implications .
Beyond the Legal technicalities the political angle is more important to discuss.
There are few aspects which needs to be considered to go into the details of what could have been the reasons for the BJP to enter into this mess and what the political implications it would have in future.
- The immediate provocation for the BJP was to take on Congress aggressively before the second round of Budget session to keep this grand old party in check and teach it a lesson for its organized efforts of continuous humiliation of Government in upper house particularly when last month the organized opposition forced the government to include the amendment in motion of thanks on President address when it was put before upper house and the amendment forced government to regret for its inability to do enough to bring back black money and inability to include this sentence in president’s address to the both houses . This humiliation was the immediate provocation for the government to bring the issue of corruption from Congress ruled state on surface and BJP decided to fish into troubled waters in Uttarakhand .
- Since BJP has come to power the political non cooperation of opposition parties in the upper house has made the ruling alliance totally frustrated and angry and it has concluded that all this is happening because the Gandhi’s duo are not yet able to digest the bitter truth that their arch rival Narendra Modi is occupying the highest chair and they have to negotiate with him. Although opposition in general and Congress in particular have its own arguments for non cooperation but BJP feels otherwise and the whole battle in upper house has become mixture of an ego clash between few leaders and ideas.
- BJP has realized that it cannot afford to be perceived weak before Congress and Gandhi’s in the background of their huge mandate in loksabha and they have no option other than to aggressively take on Congress and in this aggressive way they have adopted the methodology of warfare to force the enemy to negotiate by hitting it where it hurt most and given the political reality that Congress is on the path of losing its states and political space in country its topmost priority is to keep its states in its pocket in any way to at least keep them politically relevant in number game .
- With its political interference in Arunachal Pradesh and now in Uttarakhand BJP want to convey the encrypted message to other state governments ruled by non BJP political parties that Congress is a sinking ship and they can no more rely on this political force to safeguard their political capital and political future and it would be better for them to switch their sides in Upper house and come more closer to ruling dispensation.
The political implications
The BJP has adopted the aggressive path to deal with its problems but the political situation and surge of regional parties with aspiration of major role in central politics on their own terms to get the big share of apple for the benefit of their state has changed the whole dynamics of Indian politics and thought process of political parties in country .
Since independence the political, economic and social model was based on the rule of power raining out from the centralized format to make the way for decentralizing the power but now the gravity of centre in every sphere of life has shifted towards decentralization. In principle BJP understand this shift but unable to behave accordingly due to their personality trait and unable to curb the instinct to emulate the political model of Mrs Indira Gandhi to monopolize the political space of country with one party and one leader .
Since BJP rose to power at centre it had two options before it to shape its political behavior either to behave as first among equals in regional satraps and narrow down the space for one party rule in near future and work in cooperative atmosphere or work more aggressively to vanish the space of regional parties to fulfill it with one party rule. BJP decided to go for the latter option but the more it pushes for this option and try to revive the political culture of one party rule in country the more it alienate herself in this process and do mistake in haste to make it vulnerable for more propaganda and misunderstanding for its leadership and political culture.
The immediate catastrophe which BJP has done is to unnecessarily drag the President in this whole controversy. In our constitutional set up President has very little option to show his dissent on most of the decisions of union cabinet and in last few years we have only two instances when president has used his discretionary power to return the recommendation of union cabinet of proclamation of President rule and on both occasions this power was used by late President K R Narayanan when in 1997 and 1998 when he returned the recommendations to union cabinet to reconsider it . This time President trusted more on the wisdom of union cabinet but High court of Uttarakhand concluded otherwise and in this whole debate BJP lost its moral and principled edge over Congress on the misuse of article 356 and isolated herself on the issue of cooperative federalism.