CMs Of Telugu States Destroying Spirit Of The Constitution, Live In Fools’ Paradise

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have thrown up to stable Governments in 2014 elections. Why are the CMs indulging in horse-trading thus destroying common man’s faith in the Constitution?

Jaya Prakash Adusumilli

Of late, a vast majority of Indians  are  confronted with a piquant situation, wherein  the  so called  guardians of  Constitution  are  displaying utter contempt towards  the provisions of  the Constitution and the spirit behind it. The latest offenders on the  constitution being Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Speaker of AP  Assembly   and  the  Chief  Minister  of  Andhra  Pradesh, who are  considered  to  be  the  high  priests   of  Constitution  and  have  taken  pledge  in  the  name  of   the Constitution  to  protect the same, who have virtually molested the Constitution and the  new capital of Andhra Pradesh, ie., Amaravati is a silent spectator for the massacre of the Constitution.

As  per the  provisions of the  anti-defection law, which is a part  of the Constitution, the people’s representatives, who shift their loyalties to another party, run the risk of forfeiture of their representative status. However, in  the twin Telugu states of Telangana & Andhra Pradesh, the anti-defection law is nullified and  the turncoats are  rewarded  with  the ministerial berths. Even though  the  appointment  of  ministers  is  the  prerogative of  the  Chief  Minister, he shall  exercise  his powers  within  the  frame work of the constitution. He is legally bound to select his own party members or neutral members,  who  are  not  affiliated to any other political  party, as ministers  in  his cabinet. However, both the Chief ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are guilty of inducing defection in the  opposition  parties  by  offering  ministerial posts  as  a  reward  for  their  defection. The  Governor  is  duty-bound  to  remind  the  Chief  Ministers  of  this  provision  in  the  Constitution  and  shall  ensure  stoppage  of  horse  trading. However,  the  present  Governor  has  not  only  subjugated   the  Constitution    but  in fact  has  encouraged  defections  by  administering  the  oath  of   ministry  to  the  defected  members.    It  is  expected   that  the  President of  India  will  interfere  and  prevent the  Governor  from  violation  of  the  Constitution. But   President Pranab Mukherjee has displayed a studied silence on the matter.

Further,  the  role  of  Speaker  in  the  entire  episode  has  invited  all-round  condemnation. The office of Speaker is considered  to  be a sacrosanct institution and  stalwarts like Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar, Ananthasayanam Iyengar, who adorned the office of Speaker in the 1950s, have brought great credibility and respect to  the  institution. However, of  late, degeneration  and degeneration has occurred in the  august  office and utilizing the office of  Speaker to meet their personal ambitions and supporting the political needs of the ruling  party. The blame for degrading the Speaker’s position squarely lies on the doorstep of Congress party which has virtually destroyed the credibility of   the Speaker position. However, the political parties, which have criticized the Congress party, have further denigrated the Speaker’s post whenever an opportunity was presented before them.

In  the  first  Andhra Pradesh assembly  meeting  at  Amaravati, the Speaker has stated that the opposition party of YSR Congress party has a strength of 66  MLAs.     However, 20 of them have occupied  the Treasury  benches (The 21st defector Bhuma Nagireddy passed away recently) and the Speaker has chosen to ignore the same. Further,  the  speeches  made  by those 20 MLAs are being accounted on behalf of the YSRC party. The anti-defection law authorizes the Speaker to disqualify the defected MLAs. However, the present day Speakers, who are loyalists of the ruling party,   follow the disqualification process only in its breach for years together, to suit the requirements of the ruling party. Accordingly, one MLA defected from Telugu Desam party has become a minister in the Cabinet of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh has made a hue and cry at the  defection of a single member from his party, whereas, he has ensured defection of 21 MLAs from YSRC party and made four of them ministers in  his  Cabinet. In both these cases, the Speaker has scrupulously followed the dikat of the ruling party and made a mockery of the Constitution and democratic system.

But the big question before the general public is why the present day governments of both the Telugu speaking States are indulging in such nefarious activities. The people of the two States have provided them with absolute majorities and presented an opportunity for them to function as statesmen. However, they are stooping very low to destroy the opposition parties and living in a figment of imagination that their parties would be winning elections after elections by dismantling the opposition  and in the process they are surrounded by political touts and opportunists. In order to cover up their failures, they are creating a rift between various social segments. However, history of Indian elections  are replete with various instances to show that the general public may be stubborn and unrelenting on various issues but when it comes to choosing their leaders, they have an uncanny ability to separate  husk from the grain.

(The writer is a political analyst and former MLA from Vijayawada)

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