24 September, 2020

Choosing Cleanly

As the Lok Sabha results throw up the old dilemma, what are the President's options? Which bloc will he invite first?

Choosing Cleanly

POST-POLL scenario 1998. Dress Rehearsal: played out in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Protagonist: the president of India, Kocheril Raman Narayanan. The first citizen has had a tumultuous eight months in office—two constitutional crises in Uttar Pradesh, the fall of the Union government, general elections and now, a more or less certain fractured verdict, which puts him firmly in the hot seat in the post-results scenario.

In his 'creative' handling of the UP imbroglio, when governor Romesh Bhandari dismissed Kalyan Singh and swore in a short-lived new chief minister without a floor-test, Narayanan has proved he is a pro-active, if textbook, president. And proactive he may well have to continue being. Because within the parameters of the Constitution, which even his 'critics' admit he would never overstep, he has plenty of leeway to deal with a hung Parliament.

One of the first things that the President has to decide is whom to invite first to take a shot at government formation. Political groupings of all hues are naturally keen to be the first to be...



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