The question on everyone’s mind is whether it is the end of the road for Governor of Karnataka, H R Bharadwaj. Even as the Congress in the state have decided to block all highways in the state between 11 and 12 today demanding that the centre implement the recommendations made by the Governor, Bharadwaj finds himself in a lonely position.
There are many factors here that are being debated about his latest course of action where he went ahead and recommended President’s rule in Karnataka. At yesterday’s cabinet committee meeting he did not find the required support for his letter. Three senior leaders, P Chidambaram, A K Antony and Kapil Sibal had literally discarded the report stating that the situation in Karnataka did not mandate President’s rule. A final decision in this matter is expected today when the Cabinet meets expectedly today.
Rumour is already afloat that Bharadwaj may either quit or also be recalled if the Government of India does not go ahead with his recommendation or accepts his report. This would be the second time in less than a year that his report is being rejected by the Centre, something that not many governors have faced in the past. The last time he had sent such a report was in October 2010 following the controversial trust vote in Karnataka, but the report was rejected.
Although Raj Bhavan sources are mum about the Governor’s future course of action, his actions make it clear that he has decided to stay put within the four walls of the Raj Bhavan until there is a clear cut picture in this matter. The Governor was supposed to attend a function at the St Johns Hospital on Monday, but cancelled the same abruptly after the developments in Karnataka started to heat up.
Going by the developments, many in the political circles especially in the Congress indicate that he may step down or even be recalled. In all probability he is likely to step down if the Government does not implement his recommendation and the deadline for the same is the end of the week.
Many other believe that he has hit the nail on his own head. He has acted in haste and as far as our information goes, he has not really consulted the centre before shooting off the report. Sources say that he had just informed the centre in principle that things are not looking good in Karnataka and also stated that if the state government continues to tamper with the constitutional provisions then one may have to act.
It is also being pointed out that the Governor in a bid to act touch ended up acting in haste. If at all he wanted to act, he ought to have acted immediately after the verdict of the Supreme Court and stated that the government was in minority now. However he waited nearly two days to send out a report and that too at a time when the rebels and the BJP had kissed and made up. Moreover Bharadwaj also found himself crippled when it came to playing the number card since the Bommai verdict clearly mentions that any such case shall be decided on the floor of the House.
However the biggest bit of criticism which the Governor continues to face is the fact that he did not let the rebel MLAs into Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening. He had made it clear to the rebels who had gone with letters of support to the Yeddyurappa government that it is Sunday and due to the fact that the staff are on leave, he cannot meet them. However he acted in contradiction and ended up sending the report later that evening. Now this threw up the question as to how he managed to dictate the report when it was Sunday and he did not have the staff to work. Another factor that will play truant for the governor is that at the same time the rebels wanted to meet him, he was in a meeting with Congress leaders, Siddaramaiah and Parameshwar who had called on him seeking dismissal of the BJP government which at that point of time was in a minority.
A lot would depend on the Union Government and how they would act on his report. The Prime Minister has assured that nothing unconstitutional would be done in the case of Karnataka. What transpires during the course of the day is to be seen.