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BJP should get the Governor’s call, say experts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 15, 2018 Published on May 15, 2018

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa meets Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala after the Assembly election results, in Bengaluru on Tuesday   -  PTI

Goa, Meghalaya, Manipur had set a ‘bad precedent’ by not inviting the largest party

The best course of action for Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala would be to invite the single-largest party to form the government, said legal experts who also simultaneously underlined the “bad precedents” set in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya recently.

A number of constitutional experts BusinessLine spoke to said the single-largest party, the BJP, should be invited to form the government. However, the experts highlighted the recent precedent set by the Governors of Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, where coalitions headed by the BJP, and not the single-largest party, the Congress, was given the opportunity to form governments.

According to lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the options before the Governor were distorted by the precedents set in said three States.

In Manipur, the Congress had won 28 of the 60 seats, but it was outmanoeuvred by the BJP, which eventually formed the government with its regional allies. In Goa, too, the Congress won 17 of the 40 seats but could not stop the BJP. In Meghalaya, the Congress had bagged 21 of the 60 seats, and the BJP got only two. But it was the BJP that formed the government, along with its allies even though the Congress was the single-largest party.

“The BJP is, of course, the single-largest party. But if the Governor goes by the immediate precedent, then the situation is very clear. Both the Congress and the JD(S) have given letters supporting each other and the post-poll alliance has a clear majority in the House. The Governor has to call them to form the government,” Prashant Bhushan said.

Former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, PDT Achary said the Constitution is silent on the options before the Governor on such situations, but the practice has been that the single-largest party gets the call. “But this precedence was not followed in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya. Earlier practices were give a go-by by the Governors there,” Achary said. He added that the Governor can also not wait till the by-poll results in the State as it is for the Election Commission to decide on them. “The Governor should follow the Goa example,” he said.

Leading constitutional expert Rajiv Dhawan said: “The Governor has to call the single-largest party. Let us be clear that the people did not vote for a coalition. They voted for different parties. So the party with the highest number of seats has to be given the first chance to form the government as soon as possible. If they fail to pass the confidence vote, then the coalition that has staked its claim should get their chance.”

Dhawan said it was a “mistake” on the part of the governors of Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya to not invite the single-largest party for government formation. “It set a bad precedent. We need to respect democracy and the Constitution. The right course of action is to call the single-largest party,” he said.

Published on May 15, 2018

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