Karnataka election

What BJP did in Goa and Manipur could come back to bite the party in Karnataka

In Manipur, the Governor clearly said invite should go to the formation that will provide stability.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is in a fix in Karnataka. At 5 pm on Tuesday, it looked like Karnataka was heading for a hung Assembly, with no single party getting a simple majority. At 5 pm, the BJP had won or was leading in a total of 104 of the 222 constituencies where polling took place on May 12. The Congress had 78, the Janata Dal (Secular) had 37 and independents two.

In fast-paced developments, the Congress extended unconditional support to the JD (S). Together, their tally stood at 115 at 5 pm. If the two independents are added to this count, it becomes 117, which is well clear of the 112 seats mark necessary to form the government. The deal was possible as Congress gave the chief minister position to JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.

However, some legal questions have cropped up. What would the Governor do in a situation where a post-poll alliance is put together to achieve majority? Should the Governor invite this alliance or the single largest party, which in this case is the BJP?

What the BJP did last year in Goa and Manipur and in Meghalaya this year has come back to bite the party.

For example, in Manipur, Governor Najma Heptulla, who invited the BJP instead of the Congress, said: “I am a very straight forward person and I go by the book. The BJP has requisite numbers. They have more than 30 and that is enough.”

Here, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats. But the BJP with 21 seats got the support of other parties after the poll and reached the figure of 31 in the 60-member Assembly.

Governor’s powers

As far as the powers of the Governor is concerned, the Supreme Court in 1952 said that courts cannot interfere in the decisions made in the exercise of the Governor’s powers under Article 361. This Article made it clear he Governor shall not be answerable to the courts in the discharge of duties.

The extension of this argument is that when a Governor decides to invite a particular person to form the government, the courts cannot interfere nor it can go into the reasons for the governor doing so. This 1952 judgement still holds the field in law.

As Heptulla pointed out, the governor has to decide who has the best chance to form a stable government.

But there have been times when the President, whose duties in government formation are similar to that of the governor in the states, invited the single largest party first to form the government. This happened with President R Venkatraman in 1989, when he invited Congress’s Rajiv Gandhi. In 1996, President Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee to form the government after the party emerged as the single largest.

Given this history, the BJP would not be on a strong wicket if it argues that by virtue of being the single largest party, it should be the one to be invited by the governor first. In fact, when the decision of the governor in Goa in 2017 was taken to the court, the BJP had argued that the governor is not bound to invite the single largest party.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitely had then argued that the governor was constitutionally right to invite the largest coalition to form the government.

The BJP eventually went on to form the government in Goa. The Supreme Court did not cancel the governor’s decision to swear in Manohar Parrikar as chief minister but only set a date for the floor test. The party won this floor test.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.