In a divided "hung" house, who should the President or the Governor offer the first opportunity to form a government?
It should be that party or combination of parties that is most likely to form a stable government which can pass legislation.
The British system that we have adopted provides for no pre-poll alliance, post-poll alliance or any other form of alliance.
The President/Governor should speak to all possible contenders and has to be satisfied that the party/combination that he invites is most likely to provide a stable government.
This is a view that I have held and expressed consistently on the record for at least the past 20 years, regardless of which party is trying to circumvent it through its innovate bunch of lawyers.
If we go through the records, we shall find that parties have taken both the stands - "invite the largest party first" as well as "invite the coalition that has the numbers".
These are the views of legal "hired guns" pleading the case that suits them, not the one that is correct and principled.
Here is an extract (page 42) from "The Queen's Government" by Sir Ivor Jennings, an authority on the British constitution. He wrote the Constitution of Ceylon, advised the panel that wrote the Constitution of Malaya and was Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University.
"If there were three parties of equal size, it is possible to have one of three types of minority government or three types of coalitions. Nor does it follow that one of the three leaders would of necessity be Prime Minister. The Prime Minister of a coalition might be a moderate man acceptable to both parties, rather like the Lord Aberdeen whose coalition took Britain into the Crimean War in a fit of absent-mindedness."
Queen Victoria called Aberdeen because he could form a stable government (it lasted for three years) of disparate parties.(Dorab R. Sopariwala is Editorial Adviser at NDTV and writes on political and economic issues.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.