Dismissal of Qureshi as Mizoram governor: Indian Governors should display dignity, high moral standards!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Like the president of India, the governors of states are appointed by the incumbent government for a specific period as per the Indian Constitution. These high dignitaries stay in power so long as the government at the centre is satisfied with their performance, among other matters, particularly political views.
When a government falls and a new government assumes power at the centre the terms of president of India and governors of states do not automatically co-terminate with that government that appointed them but decency and political relevance demand they tender their resignations or express their willingness to quit at least and if the new dispensation is pleased with them there is no problem and they can continue to enjoy their positions.
Unfortunately, governors do not want to quit the offices as they do not care for maintaining their gubernatorial dignity by leaving the office when the incumbent government falls and replaced by a new one. They should know they became governors only because the previous government preferred them against many others keeping in view the party line politics
The governors, who were appointed by the Congress led UPA government should have vacated the posts in a civilized manner as soon as their party which ruled I India was dethroned by the peole of India.
The cultural level of governors goes too low when they, in order to enjoy the governor’s palace life, approach the courts against the new government’ requests to quit .
When BJP came to power it sought to replace all Governors who are Congress party embers but not every governor was pleased to oblige the central government. The Narendra Modi government transferred some of them to other states to get the posts vacated to accommodate its favored persons – as the Congress government also has done before.
After the new Government took over, many governors appointed by the previous UPA regime were eased out which included Beniwal, 87, who had served in Gujarat earlier and had a running battle with Modi when he was the state’s chief minister. Virendra Kataria, a former Congress leader, was also sacked as Puducherry lieutenant governor.
Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, who was also transferred to Mizoram, had tendered his resignation, refusing to take charge of his new assignment. Kerala governor and former CM of Delhi state Sheila Dikshit refused to leave governorship (just after a few months of her appointment by the then Congress government) but the centre now ruled by BJP’s PM Narendra Modi acted swiftly to remove her in a diplomatic manner. Four other governors — MK Narayanan (West Bengal), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), BL Joshi (UP), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh) and B V Wanchoo (Goa) had put in their papers apparently after they were telephoned by the Union Home secretary.
Mizoram Governor Aziz Qureshi is one of those who stubbornly declined to quit. Qureshi, who has had a running feud with the Centre and even approached the Supreme Court against attempts to ease him out, was sacked on March 28. A brief statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said that “Qureshi shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Mizoram.” Governor of West Bengal Keshari Nath Tripathi has been asked to discharge the functions of the Mizoram Governor, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements are made, it said.
Qureshi, who had a tenure till May 2017, is the second Governor after Kamla Beniwal to be sacked after having been shifted to Mizoram months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office.
Qureshi, who was among the Governors appointed by the UPA government and was told by the then Home Secretary Anil Goswami to quit after change in Government, approached the Supreme Court against attempts to ease him out. He was then the Uttarakhand Governor. In his petition, Qureshi, a veteran Congress leader, had claimed that after the NDA government came to power, Goswami had called him on 30 July and asked him to tender resignation and made it clear that he will be removed from office if he does not step down. He alleged, in his petition, that Goswami again called him on August 8 insisting that he resign.
Goswami had said in his reply to the Supreme Court that he had, with authority and justification, “suggested” to Qureshi that he should consider resigning on his own since his actions were not “behoving the status of the Governor” and showed the constitutional office in “very poor light” apart from “bringing it into disrespect”.
By refusing to tender his resignation even when the new government in power asked repeatedly, Qureshi has committed not just a big blunder but also impropriety as he failed to uphold the dignity that comes with Governor’s post.
Governors need to be model citizens with high moral standards and should behave while in office and respect the central government and people of the state and India at large. They should not create scenes to stay in power against the will of the central government and precipitate the matter to such an extent the central government sack them which is a dishonor to the position of state governors.
If the governors keep politics out of their offices, many problems do not arise all at all. However, most governors convert their offices into party central offices. In fact it is the national Congress party that is responsible of polarization of governors’ offices in India.
Dismissal of governor Qureshi should serve as an important lesson for all Indian governors.