31 July, 2021

Just A Second

Do deputy chief ministers count in the leader-takes-all play?

Just A Second

Thuglak returns to independent India (actually it is an impostor), wins the Lok Sabha election and becomes the prime minister with the support of all the 450 MPs. How? He makes them deputy prime ministers, buys their loyalty. The sarcasm couldn’t be more pronounced than what political satirist, the late Cho Ramaswamy, wrote in his 1969 Tamil play Muhammed Bin Thuglak. Cho’s inimitable take on the deputy PM’s post has found new meaning in the form of deputy chief ministers. India has more than two dozen of them currently; highest in its democratic history. The deputy CM’s post has no constitutional sanction. “The chief minister shall be appointed by the governor and the other ministers shall be appointed by the governor on the advice of the chief minister,” states Article 164(1) of the Constitution. So, he is another minister, an all-purpose lieutenant perhaps, but never the No. 1 even if the tag of chief minister is appended before his name. He remains prefixed with a “deputy”—the tag only providing more importance...

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