Deve Gowda was the prime minister and Vajubhai Vala was a minister in the Gujarat government in 1996.
- HD Kumaraswamy is staking claim to power in Karnataka despite their party finishing third in the tally
- All eyes are now fixed on Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala
- Deve Gowda had recommended the dismissal of the Suresh Mehta government
Karnataka election resulting in a hung assembly has thrown up an interesting proposition with the ruling party losing mandate while the principal challenger failing to get one. Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s son HD Kumaraswamy is staking claim to power in Karnataka despite their party finishing third in the tally. And, all eyes are now fixed on Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala.
But there is something that may be worrying Deve Gowda apart from the fear of keeping his flocks intact against the alleged attempts by the BJP. The story is 22 years old. Back then Deve Gowda was the prime minister and Vajubhai Vala was a minister in the Gujarat government in 1996.
Suresh Mehta was the chief minister of Gujarat when the Congress fanned senior BJP leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s ambition. Vaghela rebelled against the BJP claiming that he had the support of 40 other party MLAs. The BJP had 121 MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat assembly.
The Gujarat Governor asked Suresh Mehta to prove his majority on the floor of the House. But before voting could be done in the Gujarat assembly, blows were exchanged between opposing legislators inside the House.
The United Democratic Front government under Deve Gowda swung into action. Deve Gowda recommended the dismissal of the Suresh Mehta government. The then president Shankar Dayal Sharma signed the order and Gujarat was placed under President’s rule dismissing the Suresh Mehta government. Vajubhai Vala lost his ministry.
Senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had then stated that Deve Gowda betrayed him claiming the then prime minister assured him the Centre would not intervene in Gujarat.
The BJP paraded all its MLAs at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at night but all went in vain. Vaghela formed his own Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) and the next government in October 1996. Though Vaghela quit as chief minister in October 1997, the RJP government stayed in power till first week of March 1998.
This was the only period between 1990 and 2012 that Vajubhai Vala was not a minister in Gujarat after becoming an MLA in 1985. But today Deve Gowda’s party is waiting for Vajubhai Vala’s invitation — that may or may not come JD (S) way — to form a government in Karnataka.
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Watch: All eyes on Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala
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