The Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government on the ground that it emerged as the single-largest party is set to have a ripple effect. Both Congress in Goa and RJD in Bihar, which is the single largest party in their respective states, have decided to approach the state Governors and stake claim for government formation.
With the BJP winning 104 seats in 224-assembly in the Karnataka elections, Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala invited its legislative party leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove majority within 15 days. In the process, the Governor overlooked the numbers that the JD(S)-Congress alliance (117) had, compelling them to approach the Supreme Court that refused to set aside Vala’s order till next hearing. As a result, Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the Karnataka chief minister Thursday morning amid protests by JD(S) and Congress leaders at Raj Bhawan.
In the 2017 Goa Assembly elections, the Congress emerged as the single-largest party bagging 17 of the 40 seats. Following the results, one of the MLAs, Vishwajit Rane, resigned from the Congress and the Assembly just before the floor test and joined the BJP. The BJP had won 13 of the 40 seats. But it formed the government in alliance with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Forward Party and others.
In Bihar, the JD(U)-BJP alliance together with other allies have 131 seats in 243 Assembly. However, the RJD is still the single largest party with 80 MLAs. “We would be holding a one-day dharna tomorrow against the murder of democracy in Karnataka. We also request the Bihar Governor to dissolve the state government and like in Karnataka invite the single largest party, which in Bihar is the RJD,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said after the midnight drama in Karnataka.
But can the Congress and the RJD topple the governments in Goa and Bihar with their latest move? Isn’t it too late for both the parties to approach the Governor? One of the options both the parties have is to move a no-confidence motion. As per rule, any member of a house can move a no-confidence motion if it feels that the government does not enjoy the majority. If the motion is accepted, the onus is on the government to defeat it by proving its majority. If the government fails to prove majority, the Governor can dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections. But in the current scenario, with the numbers completely in NDA’s favour in both the states, the move only looks like a stunt.
It needs to be underlined that the Constitution does not provide any specific guidelines to Governors for the appointment of a chief minister in a situation when no party has a clear-cut majority. Which is one of the reasons why the Governors do not follow any uniform practice in such circumstances.