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'Horse trading' not found in Buta's first letter
September 02, 2005 15:52 IST
Last Updated: September 02, 2005 16:04 IST
The government on Friday submitted to the Supreme Court Bihar Governor Buta Singh's report on May 21 that led to the dissolution of the Bihar assembly on May 23.
The May 21 letter, which sent alarm bells ringing in the Union Cabinet leading it to recommend dissolution of the assembly in an emergency meeting on May 22, did not mention the word horse-trading at all.
When the Cabinet recommended the dissolution of the assembly, Home Minister Shivraj Patil had said horse-trading was the reason for dissolving the assembly.
Attempts to 'break away' legislators from Ramvilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party and the 'restive' feeling among Lalu Prasad's rashtriya Janata Dal MLAs were the focal points of the report.
Filing its detailed 158-page reply to petitions challenging the presidential proclamation on the issue, the Union Government in its affidavit annexed the two reports of the governor dated April 27 and May 21, which were almost identical in nature.
In his two-page letter of May 21 to the President, the governor said 'the reports received by me in the recent past through media and also through meeting with various political functionaries, as also intelligence reports, indicate a trend to win over elected representatives of the people.'
Referring to his April 27 letter, Singh had said, 'I had informed that around 16-17 MLAs belonging to LJP were being wooed by various means so that a split could be effected in the LJP.
'Attention was also drawn to the fact that the RJD MLAs had also become restive in the light of the above moves made by JD-U.'
The governor cited reports to state that 'the LJP general secretary had resigned today (May 21) and also 17-18 more perhaps are moving towards JD-U clearly indicating that various allurements have been offered which is a very disturbing and alarming feature'. Any move by the break away action to align with any other party to cobble a majority and stake claim to form a government would positively affect the constitutional provisions and safeguards built therein, he said.
It would also 'distort the verdict of the people as shown by the results of the recent elections' Singh said and added 'if these attempts are allowed it would be amounting to tempering with constitutional provisions'.
However, the governor did not elaborate as to which of the constitutional provisions would be affected and tempered with and the purport of the provisions. In conclusion of the May 21 report, the governor said, "I am of the considered view that if the trend is not arrested immediately, it may not be possible to contain the situation.
'Hence, in my view, a situation has arisen in the state wherein it would be desirable in the interest of the state that the assembly presently kept in suspended animation is dissolved so that the people/electorate can be provided with one more opportunity to give their mandate at an appropriate time,' the governor said in the last paragraph of his letter to President A P J Abdul Kalam, who was in Moscow at that time.
Buta Singh in his April 27 letter, reflecting on the political situation, had said 'the present situation is fast approaching a scenario wherein if the trend is not arrested immediately, consequent political instability will further give rise to horse trading being practiced by various political parties/groups trying to allure elected MLAs. 'Consequently, it may not be possible to contain the situation without giving the people another opportunity to give their mandate through a fresh poll,' he said.
The two reports were filed in the court after the Centre waived privilege over it and decided to make them public.
It had earlier agreed only to show these two reports of the governor to the court. In his first letter, the governor had said none of the parties either individually or with the then pre-election combination or with post-election alliance could stake a claim to form a popular government by commanding the support of a simple majority of 122 MLAs in a house of 243.
Reflecting the confidence among the JD-U and BJP MLAs that their alliance could form a government by the end of April or by the first week of May, the governor said 'the high-pressure moves of JD-U/BJP is also affecting the RJD MLAs who have become restive'.
'According to a report there is a lot of pressure by the RJD MLAs on Lalu Prasad to either form the government in Bihar on UPA pattern in the Centre, with the support of Congress, LJP and others or he should at least ensure the continuance of President's rule in the State,' Singh said.