By Umendra Singh
You may think that Premier Christy Clark is trying to cling on to power.
She may be, but more likely, she is setting a trap for the BC NDP and BC Greens. The trap will lead to a politically swampy quagmire for the left- leaning political partners set to grab power.
In other words, (outgoing) Premier Clark is playing old fashioned politics. Look at this way. Democracy is more solid than rock solid in BC. Why do I bring that up?
Well, in March, this year, there were several state elections in India, including in Punjab, were the Congress won a thumping victory over the AAp (as predicted by this newspaper). But in Goa and in Manipur, the voters returned a verdict similar to what happened in BC. The Congress won 17 seats in the 40-member house, while the BJP bagged 13. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and the independents won three seats each, while the NCP bagged one. By all rights, Congress , as the party which won the most seats, should have been given the first chance to form government, and then prove its majority support in the legislature by way of a confidence or budget vote. However, the BJP, which runs the central (federal) government in India, did not follow democratic norms and ordered its Lt Governor in Goa( appointed by the federal BJP government in New Delhi, to invited the GOA BJP with its second party status to form government. Not democratic, but this is India. Something similar happened in Manipur state. Congress and other smaller parties cried foul but nothing came of it. BJP in Goa and Manipur formed government with less than 50 percent of seats in the Legislature and within weeks had managed to convince some of the smaller parties to support its minority government.
Now imagine if BC’s Lt Governor had invited NDP with its 41 seats to form government instead of allowing Christy Clark with her party’s 43 seats to have the first shot. It would have cleared a constitutional crises.
But BC is no Goa or Manipur and here the Lt Governor takes marching orders only from this country’s democratic traditions – not political masters.
So Christy got the first chance to form government and when BC Greens rebuffed her overtures (actually, it appears the Greens were quite interested in her proposal until the three Green MLAs were scared away with mail and emails, texts and phone calls from angry supporters aghast at the idea of a Liberal-Green tie up) to support, she was only left with one political move – make life as difficult for the BC NDP and BC Greens as possible.
She will remain a minority premier and present a budget in the Legislature this month. This budget will be a very people friendly budget. It will also be a very NDP and Green friendly budget, probably encompassing many of the NDP And Green policies. So the NDP and the Greens will be forced to vote against a budget that is people and NDP / Green friendly in order to oust Christy Clark. If they support the budget, the Christy and the Liberals get to stay for another year or so.
By forcing NDP and Greens to vote against the budget and its people-friendly measures, Christy Clark will be setting them up for attacks in the next election.
This is just a political move by Christy Clark.