Sunday, April 21, 2024

Parting of the ways


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The dismissal of Nar Bahadur Bhandari’s Ministry in the tiny Himalayan State of Sikkim has not come too soon, nor too much unexpectedly either. Conditions of a political crisis, ending up in such a drastic move, were brewing for quite sometime, some inkling of which was available in the prolonged tussle between the Chief Minister and the Governor, Sikkim had problems for itself and for New Delhi even from the days of its royal regime; if its formal absorption into Indian Statehood solved some, many of those born of its multi-racial demographic composition lingered. Some were even accentuated with the Chief Minister’s suspected preference for one of the major ethnic groups.

The evil day for him last week could have probably been deferred yet a while if Mr Bhandari had not chosen to be as adamant on some at least of the issues over which the Governor, acting on his own and for New Delhi, could not any longer afford to be compromising. On the other hand, the parting of the ways would have come much earlier had it not been for the fact that it was not quite a pleasant job for the Congress (I) Government at the Centre to persuade itself to dismiss a state government run in the name of the same political party. In any case, the timing of the dismissal would appear to lend it the character of a gamble: Bhandari would surely mobilize all his resources to get his points okayed by the verdict of the general election hardly four months away. New Delhi, on its part, has probably ensured that the benefits of his high office are not among his other resources.



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