A government for Bihar at last

This is an unprecedented occurrence in the annals of our democracy

Developments in Bihar turned out to be an anti-climax on Friday with Jitan Ram Manjhi tendering his resignation as Chief Minister before the scheduled meeting of the state legislature for the governor’s address to a joint session of the two Houses to inaugurate the Budget Session.

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi subsequently sent a message to the Assembly through the Speaker that he would not be making his address. This was a logical development since there is no government in place in the state whose policy lines can be delineated by the governor.

This is an unprecedented occurrence in the annals of our democracy, and has evidently been brought on by the governor himself. Had Mr Tripathi kept constitutionality uppermost in his scheme of things, he might have got Mr Manjhi’s floor test out of the way before the opening day of the Assembly session, and a new CM in place in the event of Mr Manjhi failing the test. This was indeed the course being urged by JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, who claimed to have the numbers in the event of Mr Manjhi being displaced.

Mr Manjhi’s resignation was a clear sign that he reckoned that his bid to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly was not going to succeed in spite of the announced support of the BJP which has 87 MLAs. This speaks of poor political arithmetic on the part of Mr Manjhi who later told the media that he should have resigned earlier.

A poor state like Bihar has been deprived of effective governance for weeks together on account of the inter-play of political hubris and political ambition of all the leading players. It is now to be hoped that a new government would be installed through due procedure at the earliest, and that the governor would rebuff any moves that may lead to the imposition of President’s Rule, which has been spoken of for the past fortnight.

The opportunity is now clear for Mr Kumar. It is good that he has been invited to form the government with the governor asking him to take the oath of office at 5 pm on Sunday itself. Mr Kumar will then have to prove his majority on the floor of the House before March 16. The stasis in the Assembly needed to be ended at the earliest.

The Budget Session of the Bihar legislature has been officially notified already, and nothing further should be done to derail it. It was a sad day that the inaugural day of the Budget Session could not effectively be held.

( Source : dc )
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