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Why can’t the relations between Governor and Chief Minister be more sober?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on October 03, 2022 with No Comments

India has seen many unpleasant altercations between state governments and governors. However, it has not become a regular in states where the party in power is opposed to the ruling dispensation at the Centre. For the first time in India’s history, a ruling party has accused a governor of corruption charges in the post he had held earlier. The relation between the AAP Government in Delhi and the Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena has worsened after the CBI probe into the liquor policy was recommended. AAP leaders levelled charges of corruption against Saxena during his tenure as chairperson of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). Various AAP leaders held press conferences for days to press their point. At the same time, taking offense over the corruption charge, the Lieutenant-Governor launched a direct attack on Delhi’s Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in a series of tweets on September 1, accusing him of resorting to “diversionary tactics and false accusations” out of “desperation”. Breaking his silence on the corruption allegation, the LG had said various issues including “grave anomalies” in the Excise Policy 2021-22 were flagged by him but “unfortunately” the response he received was in the form of “subterfuge” and “personal attack” on him.

Yet, the ongoing spat between the 17-month-old Left Democratic Front government in Kerala and the governor, Arif Mohammed Khan, has assumed unprecedented dimensions. For the first time in Kerala’s history, the governor held a two-hour-long media conference at the Raj Bhavan on September 19 to attack the government and the chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan. Governor of Kerala has locked horns with the LDF over governance questions related to universities and the crippling of the Lok Ayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman that might lose its powers to punish to the State Assembly. The Governor has made it clear that he will not be signing two Acts, one related to higher education and one on Lok Ayukta.

And the newly elected AAP government in Punjab has had its share of divergence with the Governor. Never ever before, a Governor has not allowed a session. A political slugfest erupted with the AAP leadership crying foul and calling it a “murder of democracy”, after Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit withdrew his permission to the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government to convene a special session of the Punjab Assembly for a trust vote. Mann government had called the session after it alleged that its members of assembly were approached by BJP to leave AAP and join BJP for huge sum of money to transact. Governor had withdrawn the consent to call the session after he was approached by leaders of Punjab BJP and Congress.

Unprecedented public criticism of the elected government by the Governors is inconsistent with the high office that they  hold. The issues they raise put the ruling front on the defensive and disrupts the regular working of the elected government. Whether, a Governor is mandated to enforce standards of governance, is an issue that is unambiguous, but some of the Governors in non BJP ruled states are not restrained. Electoral majority always has been the  foundation of representative democracy,  while institutional checks and balances are also its integral parts.

It would be detrimental for any state if the head of the elected representatives and the governor remain at logger heads. In order to seek solutions and advancing any state’s development it is   pertinent that the questions could be only asked in a calm manner and resolve issues; and not become a laughing stock for the people of the state.



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