The ongoing drama in Tamil Nadu has once again confirmed the fallacy of bourgeois democracy. The split in ruling party of the state and the manipulation for grabbing the top slot in the administration is nothing new. The Tamil Nadu episode has an added feature. The ruling party at the Centre, Bharatiya Janata Party, too has got involved in the dirty game. Though its leaders at the state level are projecting as if it has nothing to do with either of the warring faction of AIADMK, it is playing its cards safely.
The BJP that is facing definite rout in the ongoing elections in five states want to be on the right side of the winner in the AIADMK. Its hope to have a new president of the Republic of its choice has dashed due to the trends emerging from the poll-bound states. It has hoped that victories in these states will help it not only to have upper hand in presidential elections but also gain majority in the upper house of Parliament, Rajya Sabha.
Now to compensate this possible loss, it is playing all dirty tricks to be on the side of the winner in the AIADMK. This has happened in the past as well. Split and defections from the ruling parties or fronts in states have always been manipulated by the ruling party at the Centre.
The nefarious game started first in the undivided Andhra Pradesh in 1984 when N T Rama Rao was the chief minister.
The episode goes like this. In 1984 chief minister N T Rama Rao confined his loyalists in hotels in Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore after he was sacked by then governor Ram Lal in an Independence Day coup by his cabinet colleague N Bhaskara Rao. As we all know Ram Lal was later sacked and replaced by another Congress leader Shankar Dayal Sharma. Chandrababu Naidu, who managed the camp for N T Rama Rao, later organised another such coup against N T Rama Rao in Viceroy Hotel, overthrew N T Rama Rao and himself became the chief minister.
A similar incident took place in Uttar Pradesh when BJP leader Kalyan Singh who was the chief minister was dismissed. In order to keep his followers within the party fold, the BJP kept its MLAs at a secret location in Delhi so that the Congress party could not succeed in poaching the BJP MLAs. However, in the floor test Kalyan Singh proved his majority and came back to power.
The third such incident happened in 2000 in Bihar when the Congress and RJD kept their MLAs from South Bihar, which is now Jharkhand, in a Patna hotel apprehending that Samata leader Nitish Kumar may attract them to his side. Even though Nitish Kumar became the chief minister for seven days, as RJD failed to submit its list of supporters on time, he had to finally resign as he lost in the test vote on the floor of the House.
The same undemocratic way was resorted to for capturing power in 2002. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) kept its MLAs at a secret location fearing poaching by the Socialist Party which had won the most number of seats but not enough to form the government. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav was short of about 50 MLAs in a House of 403 and was making all-out efforts to break the rival party BSP. However the BSP proved better in manipulation and took the support of BJP to form the government. It was one of the most shameless opportune political drama.
In 2005 such moves to split the legislators to cook up a majority were engineered in Bihar and Jharkhand. In Bihar the parties involved were LJP, Samata, BJP and RJD while in Jharkhand the parties to such a game were BJP, Congress and RJD.
In 2007, the same technique was used in Arunachal Pradesh and again in 2016 to topple the democratically-elected governments. Last year that is in 2016 in Karnataka and Uttarakhand such dramas were enacted in the name of democracy only to capture power.
Coming back to the latest happening in Tamil Nadu it was an open secret that the ruling party at the Centre, BJP, after it lost its power in Karnataka was trying its best to make a foothold in Tamil Nadu. It did have a love and hate relationship with J Jayalalithaa government when she was alive.
Now that she is no more, the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah took special pains to attract O Paneerselvam and company towards them. As it did not fully materialise and the AIADMK got split in the meanwhile, BJP resolved to dilly-dallying tactics in ending the constitutional crisis in Tamil Nadu.
BJP was trying to get some foothold, from the time Jayalalithaa was in hospital. Venkaiah Naidu, Governor Vidyasagar Rao and other leaders were regular visitors to the hospital. After the death of J Jayalalithaa the prime minister along with others paid tribute and personally attended the funeral. This looks normal.
But when Pannerselvam resigned as the chief minister, knowing that he is resigning to pave way for Sasikala, the governor accepted his resignation and refused to invite Sasikala thus creating a vacuum and confusion in the state. They expected bigger split and wanted to impose Rastrapathi rule and then to manipulate one group or the other. They created a political vacuum and planned for horse trading.
Sasikala or Pannerselvam may be worthy or not worthy to be the chief minister, that is another matter. But there are constitutional obligations to be fulfilled by the governor, which he ignored consciously. The role of Subramanian Swamy, who filed the case against who is political litigant, is interesting. It is Swamy who filed the case against Jayalalithaa and Sasikala in which they are punished now. Swamy issued a statement that Sasikala should be made the chief minister, otherwise he will file a case against the governor. After the judgment, he welcomed it expressed happiness that Sasikala is punished. None can predict his next move.
To sum up, repeated resorting to fishing in troubled waters after creating a constitutional crisis though apparently looks like a part of bourgeois democracy. In effect it really is undermining the democratic system itself. Weakening of any one of the pillars of democracy namely Parliament, Executive and Judiciary will not only upset the balance but will destroy the basic foundation of democracy itself. The crisis in Tamil Nadu is not over yet. The vacuum created by the sudden death of Jayalalithaa who did not allow any second rank leader to grow will continue. BJP will continue to play the political tricks to create further confusion.
The CPI has always been in favour of floor test to prove the majority of a ruling party or front and will continue to do so in the best interests of our nation. Let us hope some stability will be restored in Tamil Nadu after the floor test.
Source: Communist Party of India via Solidnet / RedGlobe