Buta shifts House dissolution on UPA
Even as the Supreme Court has reserved its judgment on the legality of dissolution of Bihar assembly, Governor Buta Singh on Sunday asserted he had acted in accordance with the apex court's order in the SR Bommai case in recommending the dissolution of the House but the final decision was that of the Centre.
Had the Central government not been satisfied with the reports submitted by him, it would not have dissolved the House, Singh said in an exclusive interview in Patna.
"It was the decision of the Union Cabinet or rather President of India to dissolve the state assembly. I only acted as a custodian of the Constitution and followed the apex court's nine-judge bench order in the SR Bommai case while recommending the dissolution," the Governor contended.
He recalled that the Union Government had returned the recommendations of former Andhra Pradesh Governor Ram Lal with respect to dismissal of the then Chief Minister and Telugu Desam party leader NT Rama Rao due to "certain shortcomings" in it.
"If the Centre was not satisfied with the reports, it would have returned to me," Singh said while replying to a question.
Refusing to comment on the proceedings in the apex court on the PILs filed by BJP and JD (U) MLAs saying it would not be appropriate, the Governor slammed the NDA, particularly its chief ministerial candidate Nitish Kumar, accusing them of enacting a "high drama" by parading the rebel MLAs of LJP in front of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Maintaining that Kumar wanted the Governor to hand over the chief ministerial chair to him on "a platter", Singh asked the JD (U) leader to explain what had prevented him from staking claim to form the Government.
"Why didn't Kumar parade his MLAs before Raj Bhavan? Why didn't he write me a letter staking claim to form the Government? There are several questions crying for answer," said, adding "it seems that he wanted me to visit Jharkhand where the MLAs were forcibly kept to administer him the oath of Chief Minister".
"What type of politics is this? Once Kumar travelled with me in a flight during the crisis but he did not utter a word about the Government formation," he said, adding Kumar only discussed with him "Guru Granth and Guru Nanak" all through the hour-long journey.
He, however, described Kumar as an "old friend" and wished him all the best in politics.
On the political parties dubbing his stint as Governor as "controversial", Singh said, "I became the victim of circumstances."
"When I was becoming popular because of some decisions taken by me, including those to enhance the superannuating age of government employees from 58 to 60 years and revise the pay scales of over four lakh government employees to bring them on par with the central employees, the political parties, including, RJD started venting their ire against me," he said.
"The political parties started targeting me as they thought that the continuance of Governor's Rule will expose the laxity on the part of elected governments in implementing such pro-people decisions," he said.
Defending his recommendation for imposition of President's Rule, the Governor said he had made it in keeping with the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission as no party or combination of parties was in a position to form the Government.
"While RJD legislature party leader Rabri Devi was the only person to have formally staked claim to form the Government, all other parties, including JD (U), BJP and LJP submitted letters to me opposing it," he said, adding he consulted political leaders and legal experts and in the light of the Sarakaria Commission recommendations suggested imposition of President's Rule on March 6.
"Between March 7 (the day when President's Rule was imposed) and May 22 (the day when he sent his second report to President recommending dissolution) several top politicians, including a former CM who is now in JD (U) and former MPs and friends were in touch with me and informing me about the developments in political circles," he said.
Buta Singh said till May 22, Nitish Kumar had "neither formally or informally" approached him on government formation.
"After the worst type of politics characterised by forcible confinement of MLAs in Jharkhand came to my notice and intelligence inputs suggested violation of 10th schedule of the Constitution, I was left with no option but to send a report recommending Central Rule.
"The union government also satisfied itself about the contents of my report before taking the extreme step," Singh said denying he was under pressure from any quarters.