The looming political crisis in Karnataka is entirely the creation of a Governor who is set upon bringing down the Government headed by Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa by hook or by crook. Ever since he was appointed Governor of Karnataka, Mr HR Bhardwaj, desperate to prove his utility to the Congress high command after being shunted out of the Union Cabinet, has been trying every trick in the book to destabilise the BJP Government. He has converted the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore into a conspirators' den where conspiracies have been hatched to effect defections, manufacture propaganda against the Government and tar the Chief Minister's image with the ulterior motive of either putting in place an alternative arrangement in which the Congress is a partner or impose President's Rule after sacking the Government, prepare the ground for a manipulated election and facilitate his party's return to power. He believes that this can fetch him a ticket back to New Delhi and win him a berth in the Union Cabinet. It's either that or he is doing the job of a hatchet man, carrying out the instructions of his party bosses with single-minded devotion. There can be no other explanation for his reckless behaviour. Mr Bhardwaj claims to know the law of the land and the Constitution's provisions. In that case, he should know that a Governor acts as per the advice of the Council of Ministers much as the President does. A Governor has neither discretionary power nor the right to act independently till such time there is a total breakdown of the constitutional mechanism. Nothing like that has happened in Karnataka, yet Mr Bhardwaj has chosen to act in a manner that is abominable. Just because two lawyers approached him with permission to prosecute the Chief Minister on charges of corruption based on sheer allegations and without an iota of evidence, there was no reason for him to have given his sanction. He did this despite a Cabinet resolution asking him not to do so because of the motivated charges and the fact that prima facie there was no case against the Chief Minister. Worse, Mr Bhardwaj took recourse to bazaar language that has only brought further ignominy to the office he holds and of which he is clearly undeserving.
That the man who, as Union Minister for Law and Justice in the UPA1 regime, helped Ottavio Quattrocchi access his ill-gotten gains from the Bofors deal and sought a closure of judicial proceedings in the bribery case should strike a moral posture is laughable. Mr Bhardwaj is a pathetic carricature of a courtier who can stoop to any level to please his master. The consequences of his misdeeds are there for all to see. Political instability and uncertainty have had an adverse impact on governance; the Chief Minister is more busy keeping his majority intact than in framing policies; and, the supremacy of an elected Government is being reduced to a mockery. While Mr Bhardwaj justly deserves the opprobrium that is being heaped upon him by the people of Karnataka, the Congress should not be spared for assaulting democracy in such a crude fashion. Clearly the party wants to divert popular attention away from corruption in the UPA and galloping food prices which have come to symbolise the all-round failure of the Government it heads in New Delhi. It is guilty twice over and must not escape unpunished.