oppn parties The Majority Mess in Tamil Nadu

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
The Majority Mess in Tamil Nadu

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
E Palaniswami was sworn in as the 13th chief minister of Tamil Nadu. But was it correct? Of course the law and precedents say that the governor is bound to invite the person who claims the support of maximum MLA’s. But the operative word here is “claims.” Paliniswami has been asked to prove his majority through a floor test within 15 days and he has informed the governor that he will do so on Saturday.

When elections are held, the party that wins a majority first elects a leader of its legislature party and then that person either goes to the governor to stake his claim or the governor invites him to form the government. There is then no need to prove majority on the floor of the house. In case of no party getting a clear majority after an election, coalitions are cobbled up and they elect a leader who does the needful. The coalition is also required to prove its majority.

But when governments fall either through defections or through other extraneous factors like the current fiasco in Tamil Nadu, there is never a clear picture that emerges. The situation is then ripe for horse trading and worse. In Tamil Nadu, Sasikala is supposed to have kept MLA’s “captive” in a fancy resort against their wishes. If we strive for free and fair elections, we should also strive for free and fair election of leaders of legislature parties, post such situations.

Instead of appointing a person on the basis of claimed but unverified support of a majority of MLA’s, all factions must be asked to first elect their leaders outside the assembly. Then, pledge letters of all MLA’s supporting a particular person must be signed and collected. These letters must have a no-change, lock-in period of, say, 30 days. Only then should the leader of the faction or the coalition that has a majority support must be invited to form the government.

This process will ensure responsibility among MLA’s and would reduce horse trading during the period of appointment of chief minister and proving of majority, which must be within the 30 days of the lock-in period. Otherwise, as seen in many instances in the past, particularly in the infamous Haryana case in 1960’s and 2970’s, MLA’s can be bought during the gestation period. The law needs to be changed to give effect to this.