Vote won, people’s trust lost

Congress leader Harish Rawat has been reinstated as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand after a dogged battle. Amidst all the euphoria for the Congress, it should not be forgotten that a final order on the status of the nine dissident legislators is still pending before the Supreme Court.

For now, however, the Rawat government is back and the two political parties will count their wins and losses separately. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand witnessed to a torturous journey, with many twists and turns. The past two months have seen the political and legal battle at three levels.

 The first was between the Centre and the state, wherein, the court intervened and announced its final judgment based on a floor test. The next was the battle of perception wherein the two political parties fought for public attention. Needless to say, neither side won. Thanks to the sting operation, the people of the state saw through the political class its greed for power and money. 

One must understand the impact of the political crisis on the democratic system. It brings in focus on the Constitution which believes in legislative supremacy. However, in this case, the legislative supremacy was subject to judicial arbitration. The judiciary managed to emerge as adjudicator as Centre’s decisions did not rise above suspicion.

For the common man, it was a bitter experience. Is this what we voted for? There was a never ending list of sting operations that finally made no impact. “Mr. Stung” is still the CM, although he has a CBI case against him. The stings and analyses of events only show all round lust for power. It has left the common man more confused and deeply anguished at the turn of events.

The judiciary has come out standing tall and has lived up to its reputation as the saviour of the Constitution.  Political decisions were taken in a hurry to meet short-term gains. No thought was given as to how posterity will judge these decisions. There was unnecessary haste to bulldoze a set of decisions like soldiers in a skirmish with the order to winkle out the enemy and put the stamp of victory, regardless of the consequences. Governments do not run this way. It all started with a legislator wielding a stick rather than a pen. 

Then, there was the critical question of nine dissidents jumping into the well of the house asking for a division of votes.  What prompted them to become dissidents?  Thereafter, the legislators were whisked away into two groups followed by a series of private meetings with other political bigwigs outside the state. If there is a crisis should the legislators come and meet the people of the state or should they meet outsiders? 

One of the biggest let downs has been the way our respected legislators’ integrity has come under a dark cloud of suspicion. Both parties whisked away their legislators as if they were honeybees running for nectar. The stings also reaffirmed this belief that horse trading is the norm and not the exception. If money can buy anything, then bribery will follow.

The road ahead is going to be difficult with both parties hurling allegations at one another; this is election year after all. Eleven legislators have shifted their loyalties. Did I, as a voter, on the day of election press on the voting machine your name or your party symbol? We all vote for a party symbol because that is what is there on the voting machine. If I voted for your party then please do not leave the same as per your voice of inner consciousness. My vote matters.

The entire Assembly stands discredited and the responsibility for the same is the acts of commission or omission of the legislators. Do have the courage to dissolve the same and ask for a fresh mandate as that is the only solution. The people of the state have lost their trust. A fresh mandate is the only solution.

(The writer is a retired Brigadier. Views expressed are personal.)

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