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Why Governor Bhardwaj stands alone today

Last updated on: May 17, 2011 10:56 IST

Why Governor Bhardwaj stands alone today

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Vicky Nanjappa

Karnataka Governor H R Bharadwaj seems to be staring down the barrel. He finds himself in a lonely position even as the state Congress unit moved in on Tuesday to block all state highways between 11 am and noon demanding that the Centre implement his recommendations.

There are many factors that are being debated about Governor Bhardwaj's latest course of action where he went ahead and recommended President's rule in Karnataka.

At Monday's cabinet committee meeting he did not find the required support for his letter. Three senior leaders -- Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal -- literally discarded the Governor's report stating that the situation in Karnataka did not mandate President's rule.

A final decision in this matter is expected on Tuesday.

Rumour is already afloat that Bharadwaj may either quit or be recalled if the Centre does not go ahead with his recommendation or accept his report. This would be the second time in less than a year that his report is being rejected by the Centre -- something that not many governors have faced in the past.

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Image: Governor HR Bhardwaj

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He acted in haste; did not consult the Centre

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The last time he had sent such a report was in October 2010 following the controversial trust vote in Karnataka, but the report was rejected.

Although Raj Bhavan sources are mum about the Governor's future course of action, his actions make it clear that he has decided to stay put within the four walls of his official residence until there is a clear cut picture in this matter.

The Governor was supposed to attend a function at the St John's Hospital on Monday, but cancelled the same abruptly after the developments in Karnataka started to heat up.

Going by the developments, many in the political circles -- especially in the Congress --indicate that he may step down or even be recalled. In all probability, he is likely to step down if the Centre dumps his recommendation.

Many others believe that Governor Bhardwaj has hit the nail on his own coffin. He acted in haste and did not really consult the Centre before shooting off the report.



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Why did he send the report 2 days after SC verdict?

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Sources say that he had just informed the Centre in principle that things are not looking good in Karnataka and also stated that if the state government continues to tamper with the constitutional provisions then one may have to act.

It is also being pointed out that the Governor, in a bid to act tough, ended up acting in haste. If at all he wanted to act, he ought to have acted immediately after the verdict of the Supreme Court and stated that the government was in minority now.

However, he waited nearly two days to send out a report and that too at a time when the rebels and the Bharatiya Janata Party had patched up.

Moreover, Bhardwaj also found himself crippled when it came to playing the number card, as the Bommai verdict clearly mentions that any such case shall be decided on the floor of the House.



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Turned away BJP rebels, but met Cong leaders?

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But the biggest bit of criticism, which the Governor faces, is the fact that he did not let the rebel legislators into Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening. He had made it clear to the rebels who had gone with letters of support to the Yeddyurappa government that it is Sunday and due to the fact that the staff are on leave, he cannot meet them.

Ironically, he sent his report to the Centre later that evening. This threw up the question as to how he managed to dictate the report when it was Sunday and when he did not have the staff to work.

Another factor that will play truant for Governor Bhardwaj is that at the same time the rebels wanted to meet him, he was in a meeting Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and Parameshwar who had called on him seeking the dismissal of the BJP government.

A lot would depend on the Centre and how it would act on his report. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured that nothing unconstitutional would be done in the case of Karnataka. What transpires during the course of the day remains to be seen.



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