THERE APPEARS to be no end in sight to the ongoing stand-off between the Raj Bhawan and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Governor TV Rajeswar met various authorities at the Centre today, apprising them of the developments about the Rashtriya Lok Dal’s move to get its two non-legislator nominees inducted in the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal coalition ministry in Uttar Pradesh.
After refusing to hold the swearing in ceremony despite recommendation of the Chief Minister, the Governor left for New Delhi early this morning. As the Governor is likely to remain in New Delhi for the next three days, no swearing in can be organised this week and the impasse is likely to continue a little longer.
If senior officers of the State Government are to be believed, the Raj Bhawan and the State Government have exchanged a series of letters explaining each other’s point of view on the issue. The latest missive was shot off by the Raj Bhawan to the State government today. While the Governor has expressed strong reservations to the induction of the non-legislators on the grounds that they may not become members of either of the two Houses within the mandatory six-month period, the CM’s office has already sent certain clarifications on the Raj Bhawan’s apprehensions.
By expressing his reservations to the induction of a non-legislator in the ministry (for maximum six months), the Governor has sparked off a debate over what is being termed as ‘gross misuse’ of Article 164 (4) of the Constitution. This assumes significance in the backdrop of what is being called the RLD’s ‘misuse’ of the provision to its advantage. The Raj Bhawan’s contention has brought the focus back on the induction of Merajuddin Ahmad as Minister for Irrigation who faced no election and ceased to become a minister at the expiry of the six month period. RLD MP Anuradha Chaudhary had also continued as minister for irrigation for six months even after being elected to the Lok Sabha
The Chief Minister’s office has pointed out that the term of the Vidhan Sabha would end on May 14, 2007. The contention of the Chief Minister is that anybody qualified to get elected as a member of the two Houses (citizen of India having minimum 25 years of age) can be inducted as minister.
Though the Vidhan Sabha was constituted on March 28, 2002, the term of House would expire only on May 14, 2007, said a senior officer, adding that in such a situation the House had more than six-months’ life. He said there was no bar on induction of a minister in such circumstances and holding the bypoll was the prerogative of the Election Commission which took the first meeting of the House as the date for calculating the term of the Vidhan Sabha.
The Election Commission had already refused to hold any by-election though the Vidhan Sabha had notified vacancies, he said, adding that the EC had quoted the provisions of the Representation of People Act to make its point that holding the bypoll was not needed if a period of less than one year was left in the expiry of the term of the assembly.
Meanwhile, RLD Chief Ajit Singh, who had forwarded the names of Tara Chandra Shastri and Khalid Chaudhary for induction as cabinet minister and minister of state, remained tightlipped on the issue. According to senior RLD leaders, Ajit Singh has refused to meet the Governor to discuss the issue, despite a suggestion from the Chief Minister in this regard.