Governors across the country apparently want to be relieved of their posts

Voices Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | April 16, 2014 | 6.45 pm IST New Delhi: Stranger things have happened in Indian politics, but this activity is a new record. There is now a growing list of Governors across India wanting to quit their jobs but it appears nobody wants to un-employ them. Many of them are in touch with each other, worried that a new Government in New Delhi may have new thoughts on who should stay and who should leave. Recently, the Governor of Gujarat Kamla Beniwal reportedly got in touch with 10 Janpath - the official residence of Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi – apprehending an unceremonious sacking. She offered to leave much before the results to the Lok Sabha elections are declared. Hansraj Bharadwaj, the Governor of Karnataka – and widely believed to be close to 10 Janpath – is reportedly unwilling to continue in his new post. Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan is also seeking to leave. When Morarji Desai became India’s Prime Minister in 1977, he sacked all Governors. No one expects a repeat performance, but questions about how all this will play out are doing the rounds in the capital. The current dispensation is that Governors are appointed by the President of India at “his pleasure” and leave “at his pleasure. How much of that is whim and fancy, no one can tell, but political circles are agog with lists of enterprising Governors who have crossed lines to please their masters. Centre-state relationships in India have been a subject of debate in recent years not only because of resource allocation, but also because political parties have traditionally used the post of Governors to thank bureaucrats for closing and opening their eyes tighter and wider than what is stipulated by the law of the land. In times of coalition governments, the role of the Governor is as critical to the states of India as the role of the President is to the nation. “The 28 governors in India are a mix of politicians and bureaucrats and all are appointed initially for a period of five years,” R. Rajagopalan, one of New Delhi’s most respected political commentator and analysts told The News Minute. “It remains to be seen what the new government will do in this critical area of governance,” he added. Some six of the current governors are bureaucrats. M.K. Narayanan, former National Security Adviser was (NSA) Governor of West Bengal and Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Director of the Special Protection Group (SPG) are among the high-profile bureaucrats appointed to the coveted poss. It may be recalled that the CBI had wanted to question Wanchoo in connection with the Augusta Westland deal where he reportedly played a role in altering tech-specs. When the Governor of Uttar Pradesh R.L. Joshi’ term got over in July 2013 and he continued in his post (pending a decision) till he was granted a second term on the eve of the announcement of the Lok Sabhaa election on March 5, 2014, the political questions grew louder. Joshi was a Personal Security Officer (PSO) in the Gandhi household beginning with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Another Gandhi favourite Sheila Dixit, three –time Chief Minister was appointed as the Governor of Kerala in what was widely seen as a shield against prosecution in the Commonwealth Games scam. Defence Minister A.K. Anthony is also believed to be looking for an accommodation. Did anyone hear a chuckle from the deep inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan?
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