Vindictive step

However much the NDA government might defend the sacking of Mizoram governor Kamla Beniwal, vengeance is writ large on the Centre’s action.

The government has sought to justify its action by citing some charges against her. One is that she wasted public money by flying frequently to Rajasthan from Gujarat where she was governor for over four years before being transferred to Mizoram.

She has also been accused of causing a loss to the Gujarat government by sitting on a file. There is also a charge that she filed a false affidavit for allotment of land from a farmers’ co-operative society in Rajasthan. It is a moot question whether these charges make a strong case for dismissal of a governor who has only two months to go to complete her term.

The context and circumstances of Beniwal’s transfer and removal call into question the bona fides of the government’s action and its defence. Beniwal is known to have had a testy relationship with Prime Minister Narendra  Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister.

She was asked to resign, along with other governors appointed by the UPA government, and when she refused, she was shifted to Mizoram. If the charges against her are valid grounds for dismissal, she could have been removed even before the transfer.

It is clear that the government had already made up its mind to shift her, sack her and humiliate her, and is now only looking for reasons and building a case to give its action a veneer of justification. Charges of improper conduct and illegal actions can be made against many other public personalities, including serving and prospective governors.

Singling out one among them for punitive action is unfair, and exposes political and worse, personal, motives at work.  It also disquietingly shows that a person who had had a bad equation with the Prime Minister would not be forgiven, and would be pursued till the message is clear and the lesson is learnt.
The government has also claimed that its action is constitutionally correct.

It may be trying to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling against wholesale dismissal of governors by individually targeting them on the basis of past conduct and actions. It is doubtful whether delaying of files or frequent flights would make a case for action against a governor.

Even if there is a technically arguable case for action, it was dictated by politics and personal issues. That makes it an act of vendetta.

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