Governors NOT WANTED
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Governors NOT WANTED

July 1, 2023

On Thursday, the Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi ‘dismissed’ Minister V. Senthil Balaji from the Council of Ministers with ‘immediate effect.’ It was an unprecedented act which undermines federalism. This incident begs the question — do we need a Governor at all? The answer is NO.

Speaking about the issue last night on television, ex-Senior Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal said there should be a serious ‘think’ about “if we need a Governor at all.” We have to ask why he did not think like this when he was the Law Minister and his Government was in power for ten years. Because the position of a Governor is a political instrument that every Government wields, they are an expensive instrument maintained using tax-payer’s money.

Raj Bhavans have become home where party loyalists, who know too much, are sent to stay in comfort and silent until they are asked to cause trouble. They are like sleeper cells, activated when needed.

Raj Bhavans have also become protective bunkers for party loyalists facing corruption charges. The best examples in recent memory are Sheila Dikshit and Kamla Beniwal.

Sheila Dikshit was made Kerala Governor immediately after she lost the Delhi elections. It was quick decision-making by a Government notorious for being ‘paralysed.’ And what was the need to make her Governor? Well, it was obvious — the position would protect her from corruption cases.

The first order of business Sheila Dikshit conducted after she became the Governor was she sought to quash an FIR lodged against her. Her lawyers argued before the Delhi High Court that the Trial Court order to lodge an FIR against her in a graft case is illegal because such proceedings cannot be continued against a Governor! Wah!

Then there was the Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal. It is reported that she cost the State exchequer Rs. 8 crore a year! And boy, she loved flying, especially to her home State Rajasthan and surprisingly, all of them were ‘official’ visits, so the State had to pay. Also, the 87-year-old Beniwal was named in a major ‘books scam’ and a ‘land scam’!

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Why are we paying for these cunning and manipulative geriatrics when all they have done is make our democracy weaker? Our contemporary history is full of high-handed Governors appointed by a Union Government, turning against popular leaders in the State and destabilising it. The Tamil Nadu Governor is just the latest example of a long-standing tradition of ‘troublemaking.’

In 1982, Haryana had a Hung Assembly and the then Governor G.D. Tapase invited a few MLAs who were defectors and made them join Congress, which then, despite being a minority party, formed the Government with Bhajan Lal as CM. But interestingly, just the previous day, Devi Lal had proven the majority to the Governor!

In 1984, Congressman and Andhra Pradesh Governor Ram Lal dismissed the N.T. Rama Rao Government and installed Nadendla Bhaskara Rao as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for 31 days! In 1997, Romesh Bhandari, too, tried to snatch away Kalyan Singh’s chance of forming a BJP Government in UP.

But the worst of them all has to be ‘Testosterone Tiwari,’ who, as a Governor, was caught on camera with three reluctant young women rubbing the 83-year-old all over. The Congress did nothing, nor did the Women’s Commission. But what about the law? Well, N.D. Tiwari was the Governor, so that the law couldn’t touch him, only young ladies.

The 1983 Justice Sarkaria Commission had recommended that ‘a Governor be a person of eminence, not involved in the local politics of the State to which he or she is sent, and not a politician associated with the ruling party at the Centre, in order to preserve the federal balance.’ But why will the Governor be worried about the federal structure when even his inaugural speech comes from the State Government?! How can a Governor care for India’s democracy or federal structure when he has got the position by caring more for his party than his country?

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So, while we had one pervert Governor, many have been mischief-makers and facilitators for their party in Delhi. It even became a safe house for the corrupt. We assumed Modi, who kept saying ‘minimum Government and maximum governance,’ would remove this appendix in the Indian                    democracy. But alas.

The Modi Government, as soon as they came to power, appointed Ram Naik, 80, a Union Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, as the UP Governor. BJP’s veteran Delhi leader, Om Prakash Kohli, 78, was sent to Gujarat, and founder member of Jan Sangh, Balramji Dass Tandon, 87, was made the Governor of Chhattisgarh.

It is time to eliminate this ceremonial position and turn their grand retirement homes into museums, art galleries and music centres. At least the Government will earn some money instead of losing money and it will be one less threat to our federal structure. Will this Government do it? Nah! Every Government needs a sleeper cell they can activate when they want to deactivate a State Government. We are doomed.

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  1. Aniyan Verghese says:

    This is Modi’s India today. A nation which has no scruples. Modi’s appointees are behaving much worse than ?Congress appointees.
    Time to amend the ?Consitution, and make the governor position an elected position, so that the incumbent has the legitimacy of being voted into power by the people of the state. That is what happens in the US, from where this governor’s position was copied from theindian Consitution developer, Sir Alladi.


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