Blatant Violations Of Defection Law in AP: Jagan Appeals To President To Intervene
New Delhi: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, president of YSRCP, the opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, and a number of party MPs met Presient Pranab Kumar Mukherjee on Thursday evening requesting him to take action on the Governor ESL Narasimham for giving oath as ministers to the defectors in AP.
YSRCP MPs Mekapati, YV Subba Reddy, Vijaya Sai Reddy Varaprasad, Avinash Reddy and MLA Raghupati were with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The pleaded with the President to take measure to plug the holes in the Constitution Amendment regarding defections.
Following is the full text of the letter.:
Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji
Hon’ble President of India Sunday, 07 April 2017
The ruling TDP Government headed by Mr Chandrababu Naidu expanded the State Cabinet on 2nd April 2017 by inducting among others, four Ministers, namely, Sri N Amarnath Reddy, Sri C Adinarayana Reddy, Sri RavuSujaya Krishna Rana Rao and Ms BhumaAkhilaPriya, all of whom are elected as MLAs from YSR Congress Party ticket in 2014 General Elections and whose names are still shown in the list of YRSCP MLAs published on the website of AP Legislature, since updated on 31 March 2017. This is, to say the least, a grave assault on Constitution and democratic spirit.
That the Machiavellian Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has no scruples whatsoever, much less respect for Constitution and democratic spirit, are too well known. That the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh who despite enjoying full majority with 62% of the seats in the Assembly has been openly indulging in the unethical and unconstitutional practice of masterminding defections from the main and only opposition political party YSRCP in the fond hope of creating opposition-free state is a fact known to everybody in the state. The Governor knows this too well.
As many as 21 MLAs elected on our Party tickets in 2014 elections were lured into defections to ruling TDP either by offer of Ministerships or by paying huge cash. This has been happening in the full glare of the media. Everybody who has been reading newspapers and watching TVs knows that Mr Chandrababu Naidu has been openly talking of some more defections from our party. Mr Naidu, shockingly, let lose a reign of terror using the police against opposition and it is everybody’s knowledge that the National Council for Applied Economic Research ranked AP under Mr Naidu as the most corrupt state in India. He has overthrown the legendary NTR, his unsuspecting father-in-law and the founder of TDP and became Chief Minister of AP in 1995 and has been since then surviving only by managing various institutions and opportunistically associating and disassociating with both Congress and BJP.
So, for Mr Chandrababu Naidu, violating Constitution is no big problem. What is shocking, however, is how did the Governor Sri E S L Narasimhan, a former IB Chief and Governor for nearly seven years in AP and who is familiar with the unethical defections, as we ourselves brought this to his notice several times in the past, has administered Oath of Office and Secrecy under Art 164(3) of the Constitution in complete violation of the Constitution?
Art 164 (1) of the Constitution says:
- (1) The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor
It is not expected that the Governor should mechanically accept every advice given by the Chief Minister. He has inherent responsibility to ensure that Chief Minister’s advice is Constitutional. After all, why did the Constitution place upon the Governor the responsibility to appoint Council of Ministers; the Constitutional framers, who were all men and women of extraordinary learning and calibre, could have as well authorized Chief Minister to appoint ministers. They did not do so in the larger interest of democracy and because they were aware that unbridled executive authority without proper checks and balances will eventually pose major threat to the very foundation of democracy. It is precisely because of this concern that they cast a responsibility on the Governor; he is expected to act as checks and balances on the executive excesses; checks and balances are very important firewalls and protection mechanism that Constitution provides for healthy functioning of democracy.
The Governor has full knowledge that these four persons were elected on YSRCP ticket and that Petitions filed against them and 17 others under Para 2 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India for openly defecting to the ruling TDP has been pending with the Speaker of AP Legislative Assembly. Yet, for reasons best known to him, he chose to act in a manner that is hardly befitting a person occupying such a high Constitutional position.
Incidentally, this is not the first time the Governor Sri Narasimhan administered Oath of office to a Member of different political party as a Cabinet Minister. On 16 December 2014, he administered oath of office and secrecy to Sri Talasani Srinivas Yadav, a sitting TDP MLA as a Minister in TRS Government in what was then considered in the genuine belief that the said Sri Yadav submitted his resignation to the Speaker, as Media extensively carried the information that Sri Yadav did in fact resign. Even this action of Governor Mr Narasimhan came in for heavy criticism for this indiscretion from none other than the TDP Supremo, Mr Chandrababu Naidu. What eventually turned out was that that Telangana state Assembly Speaker denied having received any such letter and his resignation has not been accepted till today. With the result, Mr Yadav, a TDP MLA is continuing as Minister in TRS Government in Telangana state even after two and half years. May be, we can give benefit of doubt to Governor that he was deceived in this case although strictly speaking he should have waited for the formal bulletin from Speaker’s office accepting the resignation of Mr Yadav. The fact is that Governor knows that he cannot swear in unless their resignations are accepted.
Given this bad experience, the question is why did the Governor Mr Narasimhan not demand production of duly accepted resignations of the said four YSRCP MLAs for swearing in them as Cabinet Ministers on 2 April 2017? Repeatedly committing the same mistake, that too by a high Constitutional authority, is simply unacceptable.
It is in this context that I respectfully submit that the Governor, far from acting as Constitutional Firewall, has mechanically accepted the advice of the Chief Minister, for reasons best known to him, and in the process committed this grave offence.
Sir, there is thus urgent need to take action against all those responsible for this violation of Constitutional spirit and the beneficiaries of such violation, lest the hard earned democracy be frittered away.
Sir, in the light of the above, I request you kindly to direct the Governor to immediately withdraw his pleasure in respect of the four ministers who he swore in today as Ministers against the Constitutional spirit.
With highest regards
(Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy)