Why we miss Rajaji today

The Congress has over the years dismissed / politically removed many state governments (a few central governments). The first of these happened in Kerala when Nehru was the PM and the unchallenged head of Congress. I mention here a few incidents that immediately come to my mind – Kashmir, Andhra (fomenting Revolt in TDP under NTR), Harayana (leading to coining of Term *Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram*), Karnataka (finally ending this fracas with the S.R. Bhommai Judgement) and at the center ( Morarji Desai / Charan Singh / Chandrasekhar / Gujral / Vajpayee Govt. of 1999). Read here Rajaji’s reaction to the unconstitutional dismissal of Kerala Government by Nehru.

 

   THE KERALA SATYAGRAHA

(June 20, 1959          Swarajya)

WHEN there is a remedy open according to law and the grievance’can be brought under examination and remedied, it was not contemplated by Mahatma Gandhi that Satyagraha might be resorted to. Much less justifiable indeed would it be to resort to Satyagraha to reverse the decision of the electorate as to which party should have the governance of the State for the time being. The congressmen of Kerala are laying the axe at the root of parliamentary democracy by what they are doing.

Not only by the test of doctrine, but even as a matter of expediency, the present policy of the Congress in respect of the Government of Kerala is wholly wrong. A million votes may place a party in power in accordance with the Constitution, but twenty thousand men who dislike the decision can create a situation by the methods now employed, under which no government can function without the use of ugly force. And the use of such force will bring in its train passions that will destroy order, and make government impossible.

The slogan of ‘non-violence’ is irrelevant and serves no purpose in this context. The condition of non-violence is attached to disobedience and non-co-operation, where this is the only way open to one who suffers a wrong. Where the Constitution or the laws provide a remedy, Gandhiji would not tolerate resorting to Satyagraha, and this even in the case of individuals and their grievances. Much stronger would be his objection to parties and groups seeking to seize power by resorting to the methods which he reserved for causes which could not be otherwise furthered.

That the Congress organization did not itself accept the responsibility of Satyagraha against the Kerala Government shows that they smelt something wrong in the process. Permitting congressmen on their own responsibility to do something which the Congress as such could not rightly undertake is an unworthy .and unwise evasion. Much better would it be for the Congress to obtain a law from Parliament that where any party other than the Congress wins in any general election, the Governor ‘can order a new election after such time as he thinks fit without awaiting a vote of no-confidence or the expiry of the period fixed for a fresh general election according to the Constitution. Such a law could be easily passed with the Congress majority in Parliament. It might be indecent but it would avoid the disorders we now see in Kerala.

This wrong and short-sighted adventure on the part of Kerala congressmen will have far-reaching evil consequences for the future of parliamentary government in India. Democracy would rest on a feeble foundation if the provisions of the Constitution are to be by-passed by so-called Satyagraha offered by any group that feels strong enough to put sufficient demonstrations in the field. The Constitution contemplates the possibility of peaceful government even on the basis of a majority of one at an election. It would be completely negatived by the doctrine now permitted by the Congress and the Congress Government at the Centre to shake the foundations of the State ‘Government in Kerala.

I do not like the Communist Party but this is not the way to deal with it. It is through the Constitution and the Constitution alone that we should deal with the communists. The introduction of President’s rule now, after all that has happened, would make it appear to be a trick or conspiracy.

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