President sacks Arunachal Governor Rajkhowa

President sacks Arunachal Governor Rajkhowa

He is the first NDA-appointed governor to be ousted

President sacks Arunachal Governor Rajkhowa

Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa was sacked on Monday, two months after the Supreme Court’s sharp rebuke for his decision that led to President’s Rule in the state, which subsequently led to the formation of an alternate government.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision caps days of speculation over Rajkhowa’s continuation after the government nudged him to resign on “health grounds” late last month.

Rajkhowa, a former chief secretary of Assam, is the first NDA-appointed governor to be sacked. The sacking comes 15 months and 13 days into his tenure.

The President has asked Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan to hold additional charge of the state “until regular arrangement” is made.

Rajkhowa, who is credited for coining the word “Seven Sisters” to refer to the Northeastern states, was sent to Arunachal as the Centre felt that his experience in the region would be helpful in dealing with the situation there.

But the July 13 Supreme Court verdict reinstating the Congress government after revoking his decisions virtually put his future at stake.

Sources said his ouster was imminent, but the government wanted him to resign. His relations with the Central government nosedived after a “private person” and a junior minister sought his resignation on health grounds.

Rajkhowa was in hospital for 47 days and had rejoined work only in the middle of August. The Centre wanted him to resign using this as a pretext.

In an interview to a TV channel, he was stubborn and refused to resign, saying: “I want the President to dismiss me. I will not resign. Let the President express his displeasure. Let the government use provisions of Article 156 of the Constitution.”

This upset the Centre and Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Mukherjee last week about the government’s displeasure.

The adverse remarks by the Supreme Court also played a role in the Centre’s decision.
The apex court had observed, “...governor must keep clear of political horse trading and unsavoury political manipulations”.

 

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