Ashok Bharti, 18th April 1999

After 13 months in power, BJP government was voted out by one vote in the Parliament. BJP government was directed by the President of India to seek the vote of confidence in the Parliament. BJP government placed the confidence motion in Parliament on last Friday and failed to prove its majority on Saturday when majority of members voted against its Government. 269 members polled in the favour of the BJP and 270 voted against the BJP. Three members abstained from the voting.

Now, when BJP government is gone and hectic efforts are being made to form a new government, a new scenario has emerged. Newspapers and their editors are scratching their heads as to who should they credit or condemn for the fall of the BJP government. Editors having their liking for BJP seem to be paralysed. They are trying to put whole blame on Ms. Jai Lalita and Ms. Mayawati for breaching their faith. They have used most inappropriate words for the two lady leaders. They have come heavily on the Congress for creating this mess. On the other hand, editors with congress inclinations have called this a victory and given whole credit to the Congress, Communist and others political parties.

However, the details of the process that voted out the BJP government indicate the role that Dalit played was historic and decisive. After Jai Lalita and her party withdrew the support to BJP government, President R.K. Narayan rightly sensed that BJP enjoys no more the support of the majority of the house. As an upholder of the Indian Constitution, he ordered the BJP government to prove if it still enjoys the confidence of the house. This sent shivering in the spine of the BJP for they knew it would be little difficult. However, they were sure to prove their majority.

A number of politicians who opposed BJP and its politics turned their face over night and assured support to BJP. Notably among them were Karunanidhi and Choutala. Karunanidhi had been with the third force in India for a long time. Choutala, whom BJP called by all the names in 1990, had recently withdrawn his support from the BJP government on the issue of Urea. The strangest case, however, was the Farooque Abdulla who breached the faith of the minority community and supported BJP government. Farooque Abdulla was tamed through George Fernandese and General Secretary of his Party Ms. Jaya Jaitly, whose husband Mr. Ashok Jaitly, a very senior J&K cadre IAS office is considered to be very close to Farooque Abdulla.

Knowing fully well the damage that its Government caused to the Dalit, BJP was not sure of the support of the two-dalit parties i.e. BSP and RPI. Having a good deal of experience in manipulating BSP, BJP made sure that BSP abstain in the voting. However, this time, their trick did not worked. Having burnt their fingers, BSP and Mayawati were not willing to take any chance. BSP assured their support by abstaining in voting. Therefore, unlike UP, BJP did not get chance to buy BSP MPs by alluring them with the portfolios in the Cabinet.

Even then BJP government could survive as the number game was still favouring BJP. The last straw was tribal MP from Orissa Girdhar Gomango. Though the Chief Minister of Orissa, he came and cast his vote against the BJP. BJP did not took this matter seriously. It thought Loksabha-Speaker belonged to their camp. Probably they thought that they would be able to manipulate Dalit Speaker the way they wanted. But Dalit, wherever they are, they follow the constitution in its true spirit. Constitution is their Bible, Kuran, Gurugranth or Pitiks. No religious book ever gave them any right. It was the Constitution that provided them with dignity and respectability. Therefore, Honourable Balyogi acted and told the BJP and TDP that he will follow the constitution.

Result was the burial of the BJP government. Therefore, it was not the congress, communists, or the Muslims who brought down the Brahamanical Janta Party, it was the Dalit who hammered the government. They hammered so well that it will take some time for BJP and its allies to get over this shock.

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