BJP govt in Haryana in deep trouble

Subhasish Mitra (Wide Angle)

The BJP government in Haryana is tottering on the brink. 


Sniffing power, the Congress has urged Governor Bandaru Dattatreya that the "minority" BJP government in Haryana be dismissed.


Fishing in the troubled waters, JJP leader Dushyant Chautala too has written to Governor, saying the BJP government no longer commands a majority and sought an immediate floor test.


The Nayab Singh Saini government plunged into a deep crisis in the wake of the situation arising out of three Independent MLAs withdrawing support.


Three Independent MLAs -- Sombir Sangwan (Dadri), Randhir Singh Gollen (Pundri) and Dharampal Gonder (Nilokheri) -- withdrew their support to the Saini government, reducing it to a minority in the state assembly. They said they are now backing the Congress.


The 90-member Haryana Assembly at present has an effective strength of 88 with Karnal and Rania assembly seats being vacant. The BJP has 40 MLAs, the Congress 30 and the JJP 10. The Indian National Lok Dal and Haryana Lokhit Party have one member each. There are six Independents.


"It is evident that the BJP government in Haryana no longer commands a majority," former deputy chief minister and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader Chautala said in his letter to the governor.


Putting up a bold face, Chief Minister Saini, however, asserted that his government is not in trouble. "The government won a confidence vote in March and if it comes to seeking the trust vote, I will do it again when the time comes," he told reporters.


Challenging the JJP's claim that his government has lost the majority in the House, he retorted, "You ask Dushaynt Chautala how many MLAs he has got."


His predecessor M L Khattar claimed that many MLAs are in touch with the BJP and there is "nothing to worry about".


In his letter, Chautala drew Dattatreya's attention to the "current political turmoil in the state" and urged him to direct the appropriate authority to immediately call for a floor test.


BJP's former ally JJP has gone on record that it is ready to help the Congress topple the government.


Chautala wrote that after the Saini government demonstrated its majority in the Vidhan Sabha with the support of several Independent MLAs, Independent legislator Ranjit Singh Chautala resigned.


Given these developments, including the withdrawal of support by the three Independents, it is evident that the incumbent government no longer commands a majority in the assembly, Chautala said.


Referring to Article 174 of the Constitution, the JJP leader said that the article confers upon the Governor the authority to summon, prorogue, and dissolve the legislative assembly.


Chautala mentioned the landmark case S R Bommai case and said the Supreme Court had clarified the Governor's discretion in determining the majority of a government.


The court emphasised that a Governor has a constitutional obligation to act judiciously and impartially in such matters and can call for a floor test to determine a government's majority, he said in the letter.


Considering the gravity of the current circumstances and the urgent need to reinstate stability and uphold democratic norms in Haryana , Chautala urged the Governor to invoke his constitutional prerogative as per Article 174.


Calling for an "immediate" floor test, the JJP leader said, if the government fails to do so, it is essential for the Governor to fulfil his constitutional duty by imposing President's Rule in the state. This action is imperative to ensure the continued governance of the state in accordance with constitutional norms, he mentioned.


On Wednesday, Chautala had urged the Congress to take steps to bring down the Saini government. Currently, the Saini government has the support of two of the Independent legislators.


After withdrawal of support by the three Independents, Leader of the Opposition 

Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the Saini government is in a minority. "On moral grounds, it should resign. President's rule should be imposed...we are demanding fresh elections in the state," he said.


Taking on both the BJP and the JJP whose alliance ended after Saini replaced Manohar Lal Khattar as Chief Minister in March, Hooda said, "They entered into agreement to break the alliance. People understand this." People know there is a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP (in the Lok Sabha polls), others are "vote kaatu" (vote-splitting) parties.


"When they (JJP) entered into a (post-poll) alliance (with BJP in 2019), I had said even then that it is not based on any policies, but selfish interests," he said.



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