From the Viewsroom

In a season of crossovers

Pratibha Sharma | Updated on July 30, 2019 Published on July 30, 2019

Changing sides in State assemblies has become morally kosher

After several rather desperate moves made by the BJP to overthrow the wobbly Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in the Karnataka, the party finally tasted success when Chief Minister Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote after 16 MLAs belonging to the coalition shifted loyalties. With great alacrity, the Yediyurappa led BJP government assumed power.

It would appear that walking across the floor of legislative assemblies has become morally kosher, particularly where the ruling dispensation is involved. BJP leaders or MPs, in various States, have made audacious public statements claiming that more opposition MLAs are in touch with the party and more State governments will fall soon.

At an election rally in Hoogly district of West Bengal, the Prime Minister had claimed that nearly 40 Trinamool Congress MLAs are likely to abandon State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and join the BJP after Lok Sabha poll results. In Maharashtra, the newly-elected BJP chief, Chandrakant Patil, also claimed that several legislators from the opposition Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in the State were in touch with the BJP and will join the party.

The BJP is on a spree to lure MLAs even in the States where it is in power. In Goa, 10 of the 15 Congress MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, joined the BJP. In return, Kavlekar was made the Deputy CM and two other MLAs were given ministerial berth.

In these cases, the BJP undermined the Opposition’s role in lawmaking. After the party swept the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, it seems to have assigned itself the task of delivering people from the ‘tyranny of the Opposition’ in the States. The Opposition’s role of keeping a check on the government is a vital one. Politicians should be committed to the larger idea of democracy, whether they are on the winning or losing side.

Pratibha Sharma Sub Editor

Published on July 30, 2019
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