Kalyan Singh must be sacked

Kalyan Singh

Governors are expected to play a non-partisan role, but the increasing tendency of those in gubernatorial positions to indulge in party politics has brought disrepute to the high office that they hold. The latest instance is that of Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh who, during a recent visit to his home state of Uttar Pradesh, extolled BJP workers to ensure the victory of the party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is not just a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. The Election Commission has written to the President that Kalyan Singh has lowered the dignity of his office by describing himself as a “karyakarta of the BJP” and recommended action against him. The President should take a serious view of this breach of propriety by a constitutional authority and send out a strong message by dismissing Kalyan Singh without delay. In 1993, Himachal Pradesh Governor Gulsher Ahmed was forced to quit barely five months after his appointment when the Election Commission expressed displeasure over him canvassing for his son, a Congress candidate.

The conduct of some present day Governors are far from honourable. Not long ago, former Gujarat Chief Minister and present Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel was caught on tape telling a group of villagers, “Modi sahib ka dhyan rakhna” (Take care of Modi). She did not come under the glare of the Election Commission because the Model Code of Conduct was not in force then. The President, too, looked the other way, instead of initiating action. However, it is Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy who has been causing the most embarrassment. Roy, who on his twitter handle describes himself as “Right-wing Hindu socio-political thinker, writer, ideologue,” is known for his politically coloured, often provocative tweets.

The genesis of the problem may be traced to the failure of successive central governments to implement the Sarkaria Commission report on Centre-State Relations submitted in 1987. The report, which describes Governors as “the linchpin of Constitutional apparatus”, had recommended that active politicians should not be considered for the post. In order to ensure political neutrality, it has also suggested that Governors be barred from holding any office of profit after retirement, except that of President or Vice President. But this is observed more in the breach. Recently, Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, who was earlier the Kerala BJP president, resigned to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Thiruvananthapuram. In 2008, SM Krishna had quit as Maharashtra Governor to return to active police and became the External Affairs Minister. The best way to insulate the Governor’s office from politics is to implement the Sarkaria Commission report. The President, too, should be vigilant and act whenever a Governor crosses the ‘Lakshman Rekha’.

 

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Kalyan Singh must be sacked

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