October 30, 2020
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Bihar

Resign Now!

'Whatever the Supreme Court says, the country has to accept it. The Supreme Court has got the authority. We have to respect it'. Thus spake the PM. Perhaps he meant that the country, if it hasn't already, should resign itself to accepting whatever th

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Resign Now!
Resign Now!
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We are told that the recently concluded Hyderabad Plenary of the Congress party was actually to have concluded today, timed to perfection with the Supreme Court of India judgement on the "illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary dissolution" of the Bihar Assembly. This is the copy of a proposed speech to be jointly addressed by the Congress President and the Indian Prime Minister. In the end, alas, better sense did not prevail.

Bhaiyo aur behano, khwaateeno-hazraat, ladies and gentlemen,

We know that many charges of brazen, blatant and shameless lack of accountability have been levelled against us in the recent past. But let's face it: Who's to blame? After all, it is you, the Great Indian Public(GIP), who foisted these compulsions of coalition politics on us.

Take the latest Supreme Court of India judgement on the "illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary dissolution" of the Bihar Assembly. Ask yourselves: is it our fault that the compulsions of coalition politics dictated that we go along with the rather reasonable demand of our only real staunch ally Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav?

Besides, how could we have allowed the "worst sort of horsetrading" and acquiesced in the formation of a "non-secular" government? After all, as you well know, even our secular ally Shri Paswan was insistent on a communal demand of a Muslim chief minister. We decided to bite the bullet, faced public ridicule and yet allowed democracy to triumph. In the end, it was your wishes that were honoured and the state has got a stable government.

Congress kaa haath aam aadmi ke saath!

Much noise has been made by some pesky members of the media about Sardar Buta Singh rubbishing all demands of his resignation and his unshaken and firm resolve to hoist the national flag and take salute in Patna at the Republic Day parade. As he so correctly points out, after all, it was his report that the SC says "misled" us into misleading the President, that led to the dissolution of the assembly, and the "shaandaar elections" conducted by his administration.

Besides, to hold the Bihar governor alone responsible for the dissolution is to miss the point entirely. Sure, we appointed him, and we could sack him, at least as a grand gesture, for he is the one who after all misled us into misleading the President to dissolve the assembly. But to do so, let's face it, would be hypocritical and also invite charges of making him into a scapegoat. Therefore, we all take moral responsibility for it and ask you for guidance: what should we do?

Surely, you do not want us all to resign en masse? Which is why the PM saw no point commenting on whether or not the governor should be allowed to continue. It is a given. The former Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabjee, thinks that the governor should not even be allowed to continue for a minute. The governor, as you well know, has already made known his plans to take the salute at the Republic Day parade in Patna. The same Republic Day that marks the adoption of the Constitution that he and his minders, viz we, could be accused of having violated with impunity, but may we also point your attention to what Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice Arijit Pasayat, who dissented with the majority view on dissolution of the assembly, said? Here it is: "There was no material placed by the JD(U)-BJP combine for government formation. Therefore, it cannot be said to be a malafide exercise of power" and "it was on the basis of Governor's reports that the Council of Ministers acted."

By the way, should some of this ire also not be directed at the President? So what if it was the middle of the night in Moscow? If we had erred in our judgement in buying into Hon'ble Shri Buta Singh's recommendation, surely he could have referred it back to us? He knows that there are precedents for it. Surely we would have then been able to tell our staunch ally, hon'ble Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav, that the Prez was being a party pooper? That would have solved it. Alas, it was not to be so.

You would also please appreciate that it takes time to study the full judgement. And besides, as was pointed out at the time of Volckergate, in the end, we would perhaps make some other cabinet minister let Shri Buta Singh know through various TV channels that being a responsible person, he would know what to do in the given circumstances? It is afterall, up to him.

It should be borne in mind, as we pointed out above, that this whole brouhaha was necessitated after all only to allow the people of Bihar to speak out and give a resounding verdict. The people have already spoken. The SC is only doing its duty. We respect it. But with due respect, there is nothing more we can, or see the need to, do.

It would take too long to delve into the past or address the long laundry list of Goa, Jharkhand, Nanavati Commission on 1984 riots or Volcker etc. that are sought to be raked up each time a new controversy erupts. We have always believed that the GIP should be witness to the utter confusion they have caused by subjecting us to one needless crisis after another so that it realises what a great folly it committed by giving us this fractious verdict instead of a clear mandate.

But let's face it. What option does the GIP have? Look at the pitiable state of the imploding party that had the temerity to call itself the natural party of governance. We know, as the various opinion polls conducted on our behalf by various media outlets point out, that were we to dissolve this Lok Sabha and go in for a fresh election, we would emerge triumphant. But the question to ask is: Can the country face another expensive election? Need the booming stock markets be subjected to a needless jolt? So what if we have to fight our allies at the centre in the states? Just think of the various sacrifices we have to make routinely for the country, yet all we get is this unending opprobrium and a hostile press. Is that fair?

Now a word about the recent storm in a tea-cup over defreezing of innocent Mr Q's accounts. You tell us, what are we to do? It's been almost 20 years out of which we have not even been in power for 8. If our political opponents could not bring the guilty to book, is it not fair to conclude that there are no guilty at all? Besides, what good would a resignation or two do now that the cat is out of the bag, er, we mean, now that the money is gone? Wouldn't that in the end just be a grand but essentially a meaningless gesture? Is that what you call accountability and taking moral responsibility? But, come on, sure, if you insist, and create too much of a stink, and we need to buy some peace and quiet, we could let a head or two roll (remember how subtly we handled it and made better sense prevail on Shri Natwar Singh?). Ask yourselves: is that what you want? Would a resignation of some fkunky fix the deeper malaise?

Meanwhile, it is time that you realised that we have no option but to behave in the manner we have been compelled to. At the cost of being called paranoids in reverse, it is perhaps time to admit that there are actually a lot of people who are forever conspiring to make us happy. Thankfully, as some of the insightful commentators have correctly pointed out, there are lots and lots of people we appointed in positions of power who derive immense gratification in doing deeds that they think we want done. Some of these things do harm us, especially when they come into public domain, but surely there is something to be said for honouring and rewarding loyalty instead of being ungrateful wretches?

There is then the minor matter of the SC. Needless to say, the PM has already pointed out the obvious. "Whatever the Supreme Court says, the country has to accept it. The Supreme Court has got the authority. We have to respect it". Being essentially a nice man, what was left unsaid was that the country has also to accept whatever we, the powers that be, do or say as well. You need only look at the cavalier way we authorised the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to deal with the notice issued by the SC on dismissal of MPs in the cash on camera scandal. Surely, in this case the guilty were manifestly deserving of punishment and we did therefore think it was a great opportunity to set a good precedent, should the need arise to dismiss any irritating troublemaker in future as well. There should be no court of appeal for some crimes.

Now let's look at the ground reality. What choice do you, the GPI, have? There is no credible opposition you can vote for. Do you want an emergency? Another expensive elections? Let's get real here. Elections cost money. And yes, it does lead to some corruption. We all know it is a global phenomenon. If you insist, we can set up a committee to go into state funding of elections and also, to come back to the matter at hand, the recommendations of Sarkaria Commission on governors etc. But would it really achieve anything? So why get all worked up? People get the government they deserve. Why not simply resign yourselves to that? Remember, things are only bad. They could be worse.

We are sure you would appreciate our utter helplessness in the situation and the disarming candour with which we have placed all the facts of the case before you. We too could have chosen to be hypocritical about it all, but we hope you all understand that pragmatism necessitates some amount of give and take. Cut us some slack now, and we would continue to be as fearlessly forthcoming in future. We promise you a truly transparent government.

In our endeavour to provide just that, the NAC is seriously considering the feasibility of distributing free mobile phones with free SMS facility to all those below the poverty line. It shall be done on top priority basis so that the government can remain in touch with you and you can remain in touch with the government. We are trying to cut a deal with Reliance Infocom. That should also put a rest to that whole phone-tapping controversy. In the meanwhile, all those who do already have mobile phones should immediately take part in our first SMS opinion poll to tell us how we should deal with the present embarrassment:

Press a: Brazen it out. This too shall pass as the next embarrassing scam comes to light
Press b: Let Buta Singhji decide which other post he wants to be transferred to
Press c: Move to dissolve this Bihar assembly on the grounds that the earlier dissolution was "illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary".

Jai Hind!


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