Saturday, June 21, 2014
Governing The Governors
There are many posts in our democracy which are clichéd and redundant. And to add to that, they largely remain a public money wasting extravaganza. One such constitutional post of some deplorable pedigree is the post of the Governor. Every state does have one such Governor, adding no value whatsoever but enjoying the best of the things on tax payer’s money. The usefulness of these Governors was kept at a level of Rajiv Shukla, by design. For a simple fact, these Governors were never premeditated to add anything to the democratic discourse at all. For a large part of our independent history, this post always stood as the epitome of a graceful pre-retirement bonanza. Aged out loyal party men were awarded with one of such plump posts before they bid adieu to their public life. They were expected to be non-partisan and remain above the board in their conduct. That is why for a better part of our 60 odd year’s independent history, such posts were never politicized or made an object of vendetta politics. But that trend seems to be changing, well in last 12 years of Indian democracy at least.
The latest politicization of the post of Governorship has come from BJP. The way and manner in which BJP is hell bent on sacking at least 7 of the Congress appointed Governors, looks little childish to me. I am sure Modi government has far bigger and important challenges in hands than running around sacking half a dozen absolute useless entities. Looking at the current state of our economy or for that matter anything, NDA has it’s plate full to fix many things after a prolonged misrule of 10 years than bothering about these Governors and their conduct at an individual level. There by asking 7 of these Congress appointed Governors to put down their papers, BJP seems to have set a very bad precedence and some unnecessary politicization of a pure worthless post. That said can we really blame BJP alone for this dirty game of vendetta politics and setting up of bad precedence? Let’s dig a bit then.
For a bad culture or practice, it is both the person who started it and the person who subsequently carried it forward must be blamed in equal tone. And when it comes to setting up bad antecedence in our political discourse, no one can beat the Congress party; not even in their dreams. It is no accident with Congress that they yet again destroyed the sanity of a constitutional body through their dirty approach. To correlate to what BJP is trying to achieve now, one need not have to go too far beyond 2004 when Congress sacked 4 of BJP appointed Governors, the moment they came back to power. It is a different matter that the Supreme Court came heavily on that decision in 2010 but by then the damage has already been done. By the time our Apex court tried to inculcate civility among our political parties vis-à-vis the post of Governorship, the poison of feud has already set in. So it has now snowballed in to some kind of an irreparable state where even guidelines seems to be failing miserably to contain the epidemic. Some drastic measures like abolishing the post of Governor altogether, may put the lid on the warm box but if that should be done or not is a matter of separate debate and outside the ambit of this blog post. So let’s move forward.
Now one wonders, how on earth a pre-retirement post can become a subject of sabotage at the hands of the ruling governments and most importantly why? To find the answer, one need only revisit the conduct of Congress party in recent past. Usually the Governor used to be a political person at the fag end of his/her political career. He/She has got no one to appease or has got any ambition left in his/her political life. So as a resultant, he/she is expected to showcase dignity and non-partisan approach when in such a high democratic office. But such expected conducts of the inhabitant bound to change when you make appear the post as a bouncing pad of your political career. And that is precisely what the Congress party did with SM Krishna. They not only made him a high rank cabinet minister after picking him straight from the Rajbhawan but also told the rest thereby that they can also revitalize their political careers if they remain loyal to the Congress party and the first family. That was such a massive destruction of the laid out principles that we saw a sea of Governors engaging themselves in acts of deplorable conduct after that. All non-Congress ruled states saw the Governors working overtime and out of turn to see the malfunctioning of the state machinery. Notable among them were a certain HR Bhardwaj in Karnataka and Kamla Beniwal in Gujarat. More than caring for a smooth running the state, these two at least tried to make it reverse. And why they felt like doing it? Because they always kept SM Krishna as their role model. Now who should be blamed here? Not certainly the Bhardwajs or the Beniwals of the world but the one who set such a bad practice to begin with.
And if you look at the list of names that BJP wants to be thrown out of respective Rajbhawans, there you would find a striking similarity. All of them are Gandhi family loyalists and front runners in creating troubles for BJP in their respective states. Except Shiela Dixit (she is in a different category and we will get to her a little later) rest all of them were violently engaged in shaping up their dead political careers through mischief. Governor of Maharashtra, K Sankaranarayanan though doesn’t fall in this category he is another classic feudal case nonetheless. In him BJP sees a conflict of interest in the upcoming state legislative elections. Many believe, he being the Governor doesn’t want just a stable government in the state but a precise Congress-NCP government only. Such are his strong inclinations though his post warrants him to be exactly opposite of that.
Coming back to Shiela Dixit, the lady must be impeached, for a different reason altogether. Her involvements in scams like CWG are anything but transparent. That is perhaps the reason she was packed to Kerala after Delhi elections routing in a hurry. Change of guards brought about an imminent possibility of the lady being booked for her 15 years notorious deeds. And being an ardent Gandhi family loyalist, she has to be protected from the jaws of law. Hence the safest and easiest way out was to make her a Governor in one of the states. As per the constitution she now can’t be charge sheeted or investigated as long as she is there in that wretched post. Knowing her fate, once she leaves her post, she perhaps why is the most aggressive one among the lot to disagree on what the home secretary and BJP wants. I am not sure about others but if this particular lady doesn’t goes out by her own, BJP must exert pressure on the President to impeach her unceremoniously. Her crimes are too magnanimous to be kept hidden under the Burqa of Governorship. She has to face the law and she has to be answerable to the public for her misdeeds. And if required be duly punished for her misdeeds.