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Bihar central rule is good news for BJP

March 07, 2005 23:53 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to support the motion imposing President's Rule in Bihar, seeing it as the second best choice for them.

The best choice, of course, would have been forming the government in combination with Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party.

Cabinet nod for central rule in Bihar

As per the Constitution, the assembly has to be convened within six months of the end of the last session.

In Bihar's case the deadline passed on March 7.

Since no party or alliance is in a position to form the new government, Governor Buta Singh announced that he was in favour of imposing President's rule.

However, the move has to be ratified by Parliament.

"The Bharatiya Janata Party will certainly support the motion," said spokesperson Sushma Swaraj.

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"The BJP has no intention of seeing the Constitution breached and if there cannot be a government in Bihar, then there has to be President's Rule."

She was careful to not blame LJP leader Paswan, but said that he had shut the door on the face of the BJP for creating an alliance.

"He has publicly said that he will neither support us nor take our support in forming the government. So how can we then approach him," she said.

There have been rumours aplenty that of Paswan's 29 legislators about half will quit the party to align with the NDA, which is the largest formation in the recently concluded polls.

But Swaraj dismissed the idea. "Even if 15 LJP members support us, we cannot form the government as the gap is too wide. Either the entire LJP joins hands or there is no question of a government in Bihar," she said.

The situation in Bihar has thrown up a constitutional quandary.

In the past too when elections have been contested by three parties or formation, the assemblies have seen a three-way division of seats, most notably in Uttar Pradesh in the past.

But invariably, two of the three have gotten together to form a government. What is happening in Bihar is that with the LJP refusing to align either with the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress or the NDA (comprising the BJP and the Janata Dal-United), no one is in a position prove a majority.

Swaraj admitted that if this stalemate continues for more than six months (President's rule is imposed for six months), then Bihar is likely to have fresh elections.

She said the BJP would be ready to face elections both in Bihar.

"Certainly the NDA will clearly gain if elections are held. The Congress went to polls opposing the RJD and has now tied up with the RJD. The people are not going to forget or forgive this treachery in a hurry and we will gain," she said.

The BJP clearly sees a win-win situation for itself in Bihar. Either Paswan will end up joining hands with the NDA and thus form an NDA-LJP government within six months or there will be elections.

"Paswan is in a tough situation because he is under tremendous pressure from his legislators to join hands with the NDA," claimed Swaraj.

Not that the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre (led by the Congress) is in immediate trouble. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav faces many corruption charges and with the various files now going to Governor Buta Singh (a former Congress minister), the Congress party will clearly put pressure on him to continue his support to the UPA at the Centre.

Meanwhile, the BJP is also happy about the situation in Goa and Jharkhand.

Sources in the BJP said that the party believes that if elections are held, it will clearly win with the people out to punish the Congress for its transgressions.

In Jharkhand, the BJP had fought the elections facing an anti-incumbency vote, but still managed to emerge as the largest party.

The recent events of the Jharkhand governor installing Shibu Soren of the United Progressive Alliance (comprising the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand) has only helped the NDA win a moral battle and get a good chance to form the next government.

Sources said that while the developments have affected the morale of the parties that make up the UPA (including the RJD and JMM), there is no immediate threat to the UPA government at the Centre now.

"Lalu dare not upset the UPA because then. If he is not in power at the Centre or the state, he will be hounded by the police.

But what is making the BJP smile and distribute sweets at Sushma Swaraj's residence is the belief that fresh elections in Bihar and Goa will only help the party.

For a party that was struggling to come to terms with its bloodied nose in May 2004 and later in Maharashtra, these are indeed glad tidings.

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005

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