New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday accused the government of abdication of ‘Raj dharma’ in Manipur by not disqualifying 12 MLAs and alleged the BJP was “distorting” democracy by creating an artificial majority in the state and running an “unconstitutional” government.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the 12 MLAs should have been disqualified in office of profit case but the constitutional authorities were not taking a decision and were resorting to delays.
“Twelve BJP Manipur MLAs should have been disqualified in 2018 in office of profit case. Now, ECI says that Manipur Governor has already been instructed about the same but no action has been taken yet. Entirely unconstitutional of the governor to protect the BJP,” he said in a tweet.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, at a press conference, said the 12 MLAs who switched sides in 2017 were made parliamentary secretaries in Manipur, but were later removed as they enjoyed the benefits of “office of profit”.
He lamented that even after the Manipur High Court’s judgement in September 2020, the MLAs were not disqualified and he alleged that the governor and the election commission were “delaying” their decision on the issue.
Singhvi, accompanied by former Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh and other party leaders and MLAs, said the BJP was indulging in “conscious, deliberate and unconstitutional delays” by not acting against the 12 MLAs.
“This is because we are carrying a sorry, sad, sordid tale which intersects on four points from the tiny state of Manipur — deliberate and unconstitutional delays, distortion of democracy by creation of artificial majorities by the BJP, abdication of ‘Raj Dharma’ and naked brandishing of inducements,” he told a press conference.
He alleged that in 2017 a clear Congress majority was born in Manipur, but in March 2017 a clear 28-MLA majority by “allurement and dirty activities” was reduced to an artificial minority and the BJP made its government.
Immediately after forming the government, the BJP rewarded those 12 MLAs, who had defected, with parliamentary secretary posts, but were removed after a few months because they realised that these posts were illegal.
He alleged that the position of parliamentary or assembly secretary is considered an office of profit and that is well established rule.
He said now even after the September 2020 judgment of the high court, which is under appeal in the Supreme Court, yet after 5.5 months the governor has not taken a decision and the Election Commission also did not take a decision on it for long.
“I have no doubt that there will be further delay, so that persons, who are clearly disqualified on account of office of profit disqualification will continue to enjoy the loaves and fishes of office unconstitutionally and illegally,” he said.
“This is nothing, but, deliberate, unconstitutional, artificial delay to allow benefits to be reaped by a particular party of a particular colour. As it has been said, indecision and delays are the parents of failure and it is evidence of the fact that a declining institution is showing the survival of the unfittest.
“This is continuing governments on authority, not on public faith, and we are here to expose this, we are here to underline this and we are here to shock the conscience of the country through you on this,”Singhvi alleged.
The Congress leader said the Constitution does not tell one to behave like a gentleman or how to practice ethics, but there is the spirit of the Constitution, which means that you should take decisions promptly for the simple reasons that those decisions should not reap the benefits unduly long.