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In A Hung Parliament, Who Can Be India's Next Prime Minister? Here Are Some Possibilities

With talk of a hung Parliament doing the rounds, who will be India's next Prime Minister? Former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Subhash C Kashyap tells Puneet Nicholas Yadav the options the President of India have

In A Hung Parliament, Who Can Be India's Next Prime Minister? Here Are Some Possibilities
In A Hung Parliament, Who Can Be India's Next Prime Minister? Here Are Some Possibilities
outlookindia.com
2019-05-17T11:24:59+0530

Subhash C. Kashyap, former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha, speaks to Outlook’s Puneet Nicholas Yadav

If the Lok Sabha results throw up a fractured mandate, what options do the President have while inviting a leader to take oath as prime minister?

As per the Cons­ti­tution, the President can literally appoint anybody as PM but there is a subsequent clause of Article 175 which says that the council of ministers, with the prime minister as its head, should be res­ponsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The President is expe­cted to appoint only such a person who, in his discretion, will command support of the majority in the LS.

Is the President bound to invite the single largest party first or can a leader of the largest pre-poll alliance or a post-poll alliance be given preference?

There have been different views, different precedents. The Sarkaria Commission had pointed out the advisability of first inviting the leader of a pre-poll alliance. If he fails to form a government, then the leader of the single largest party can be invited. If he also fails, then he may inv­ite the largest post-poll alliance. Actually, the President can invite just about anyone if he feels that he is likely to command majority support in the House.

I have been of the view that the President should not be saddled with this res­ponsibility if a majority is not clear. He should ask the House itself to elect its leader. Since the PM has to eventually prove his majority, why not prove it bef­ore being appointed?

If state parties who are not part of any pre-poll all­iance emerge as kingmakers, but there is a lack of unanimity within their members on supp­o­rt­ing a leader, what is the constitutional provision?

There is no provision in the Consti­tut­ion or in law that can prevent a member of any nat­ional or state party from supporting a leader as PM irrespective of party affiliation. The anti-defection law requires that the party directive should be obeyed in the House. Any member who votes against it or abs­tains can be proceeded against and a petition can be filed with the presiding officer of the House. There is no time limit wit­hin which the officer must take a decision on the member. But defying a whip will have no repercussions on the floor test bec­ause you vote as a member of the House, not as member of a party.

Get the latest election news, analysis, data and live updates on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 here.

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