For Bengal, BJP may rely on Art 355 to pressure Mamata government

For Bengal, BJP may rely on Art 355 to pressure Mamata government

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New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who on Monday met the Prime Minister and Home Minister and submitted a 5-page report along with an analysis on the post-poll violence in the state, but did not recommend invoking Article 356 that entails dismissal of a state government.
Sources said the Modi government is relying on Article 355 of the Constitution that involves building pressure on a state government as it says, among other things, that it is the duty of the Union government "to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution."
On Sunday, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba sent a missive to West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay De over the prevailing law and order situation, which will have to be replied to. The state government responded by saying there were a few "stray post-poll clashes" in West Bengal, and that the situation in the state was "under control" in a letter to the Centre.
Significantly, Tripathi's tenure as Governor is coming to an end next month and he is seeking extension till the Assembly elections due in 2021. The state BJP reportedly wants him to continue since he knows the state, but Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants a new Governor.
State BJP sources said the political scenario in the state vis-a-vis Mamata has come a full circle. "There were days when Mamata cried foul and demanded President's Rule by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution against the Left Front government in the state," said a state BJP leader.
Party sources said the strategy of Modi and Shah is to create tremendous pressure on the Mamata Banerjee government as they feel that if they try to invoke Article 356, she would hit the streets and divert Bengal politics.
Besides, the matter can land in the court, said a leader on the condition of anonymity. A nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court on March 11, 1994 delivered a historic judgement in the case of dismissal of the S.R. Bommai government of Karnataka in 1989, spelling out limitations of the Centre in taking such decisions.
"Therefore, the Modi government could be relying on Article 355 in place of 356," a party source said.

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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