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Bihar affairs

This refers to the editorial "No alternative to dissolution" (May 24), which justified and rationalised the presidential proclamation of dissolution of the Bihar Assembly. Did all coalitions in the past — in the Centre and at the States — come to power only by persuading allies and not by bribing them with key ministerial berths?

R. Sankar,
New Delhi

The editorial claims that the use of the merger clause (on disqualification of legislators) amounts to making a mockery of elective democracy. But is it not a mockery of democracy when a party supremo overrules the wishes of a majority of his elected members? Is not keeping the Assembly in suspended animation to explore the possibility of government formation only to dissolve it when the possibility becomes real also a mockery of democracy?

Easwaran Raman,
Princeton, New Jersey

The observation that persuading Ram Vilas Paswan was the only "legitimate route to power" is subjective. Mustering the support of a majority of LJP MLAs would have been an equally lawful route to the formation of a popular government in the State.

The move of the Centre, just as the political deadlock was about to be broken, was obviously meant to prevent the formation of a JD (U)-led government in Bihar.

Avuthu Srihari,

Had the UPA Government at the Centre taken the decision to dissolve the Bihar Assembly soon after it became evident that no party would form a government, it would have been beyond reproach. That the Governor discovered horse-trading among MLAs just when the JD (U)-BJP combine was within a striking distance of forming a government is incredible. What if the dissident MLAs had instead extended support to the RJD? Would the Centre still have taken such umbrage to horse-trading?

Vinoo Ramakrishnan,
Oak Park, Michigan

Governor Buta Singh should not have been so averse to `horse-trading.' Eventually our democracy is about numbers or cobbling up a combination on some plank like secularism.

Air Cmde (retd.) Raghubir Singh,

Bad luck seems to continue for Bihar. A second election within such a short time will benefit none as there is unlikely to be any change in what political parties have to offer. Nor does any realignment of forces seem possible. It is for the voters of Bihar to give a clear verdict in their own interest.

Bijay Shankar Patel,
New Delhi

Whatever the Centre proposes to do in the event of another fractured verdict, which is most likely, it should do now instead of wasting money in conducting another election so soon.

Krishna Kumar,

The haste with which the Centre acted shows the intolerance of the UPA Government. The latest act of political adventurism has reduced the moral authority of the entire Central Government and the leadership of the Congress.

Pranav Sachdeva,
New Delhi

Que Sera Sera (whatever will be will be). All credit should go to Ram Vilas Paswan who by his refusal to budge has effectively paved the way for the return of Lalu Prasad's rule. It will be very easy for the RJD supremo to convince the Bihar electorate that only his party can give it a stable government.

Devarayapettai Ramesh,

The LJP leader should at least now realise that he cannot decide the destiny of Bihar.

R. Akhil Ratheesh,

Granted, the Centre had no alternative. But why the high drama of getting the President to sign the proclamation while he was on a visit to Moscow? What was the emergency? Did the UPA Government hurry to propitiate Lalu Prasad at the earliest so that he would not rock it? And what an acknowledgement by the Railway Minister ("I will never sever ties with the Congress")!

Col. (retd.) C.V. Venugopalan,
Palakkad, Kerala

Getting a proclamation signed in a foreign land on a matter concerning internal politics could have been avoided.

R. Balaji,

The speed with which the presidential proclamation was sought is yet another example of how the people at the helm of affairs use their constitutional position to serve their interests.

G.L. Panchashrit Reddy,
Nizamabad, A.P.

It should be made mandatory for political parties to strike electoral alliances before the elections. This will put an end to horse-trading. Democracy becomes meaningless if a party, after winning a few seats, forms an alliance with one that has lost to form a popular government.

L. Ananta Srinivas,
Tiruchi, T.N.

Why was the Assembly not dissolved as soon as Bihar received a fractured mandate and it became clear that no party was in a position to form a government? Similarly, why was the need to dissolve the House felt only when the NDA got to the position of forming a government?

Renu Baliyan,
New Delhi

It is unfortunate that the champions of secularism have dissolved the wish of the people of Bihar in such a short time. The episode is nothing short of organised killing of democracy.

G.V.S. Prasad,
Thane, Maharashtra

Although it can be argued that the Governor could have waited a little longer, the verdict thrown up in Bihar was such that even if a government had been formed it would not have lasted long.

P.V. Raman,

There is nothing wrong in averting horse-trading, because each political party resorts to this cheap pastime; but in Bihar's case, the timing is questionable.

U.S. Iyer,

The presidential proclamation is the most principled process under the circumstances. It is strange to see the NDA, which has shown little regard for majority rule by boycotting Parliament, talking of a fraud on the Constitution.

M. Bhimashankar,

Elections should be held only once in five years and not as and when politicians want them. If political parties cannot form a government, let President's Rule continue till the next elections. As a taxpayer, I object to a Rs. 500-crore re-election binge in Bihar.

Air Commodore (retd.) V.V. Nair,
Alappuzha, Kerala

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