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Explained: The governor’s options

Santosh Singh explains the options before the Bihar governor to form the next government in the state.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Published: February 9, 2015 1:43:40 am
Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi leaves after meeting PM Narendra Modi at 7RCR in New Delhi on Sunday.(PTI) Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi leaves after meeting PM Narendra Modi at 7RCR in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

On Sunday, JD(U) state president Bashistha Narayan Singh presented letters to the Bihar Governor from his party, the RJD, the Congress, the CPI and an Independent MLA claiming that Nitish Kumar has adequate support to form government. The Bihar Speaker has also notified Nitish as the new legislature party leader. SANTOSH SINGH explains the options before the governor

What happens if Jitan Ram Manjhi recommends dissolution of the House to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi?
Manjhi was on Saturday authorised by only seven of his ministers to recommend dissolution of House. If he still goes ahead with the recommendation, the Governor is not obliged to agree. Tripathi will have to take into account the fact that the recommendation did not have the full backing of the cabinet. Under such circumstances, he can ask the CM to reconsider his recommendation and prove his majority on the floor of House, says Patna High Court senior lawyer Tuhin Shanker.

The JD(U) has chosen Nitish as its new legislature party leader, and staked claim to form the government. What are the implications?
Now that the Bihar Speaker has also notified Nitish as the new legislature party leader, and the JD(U) and its allies have presented letters of support to Raj Bhavan, the Governor will first wait for Manjhi to resign or face a floor test. If Manjhi does not win the floor test, Nitish can be called to form the government. Nitish has the support of 127 MLAs, though he requires the backing of 117.

What if Manjhi reaches the 117 mark with support from the BJP’s 87 MLAs?
The Governor may refer to provisions of Anti-Defection Law to see if Manjhi has support of two-thirds of his party members to split and form a new party. With 97 of JD(U)’s 111 MLAs already supporting Nitish, Manjhi is left with only 14.

Can the Governor impose President’s rule?
Though it is up to the Governor to take a call on this, he may consider the fact that Nitish has already staked claim with the requisite number. The Governor may ask Nitish to parade MLAs supporting him, besides letters of support from the JD(U) and its allies. The Governor may also take into account the fact that the Budget session is round the corner and in the event of President’s rule, it will have to be passed by the Parliament. As there are still eight months to go for the Assembly polls, the Governor may refrain from imposing President’s rule.

Can the Governor dissolve the House and ask a caretaker government under Manjhi to continue?
Again, the problem with this would be the passing of the state budget, which is why the Governor may not take this route.

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