Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let’s elect our Guvs/Mail Today, July07,2008

We love to make tall claims about being the world’s largest democracy but when you look at those men and women who live in the Raj Bhavans around the country, we realise how far we are from being areal democracy. The unelected office of Governor is the most misused and abused one in the country. There have been governors who have brought infamy to their offices. Last week, one more joined that disgraceful list. NN Vohra was in office for less than a week when, in an attempt to bail out the Ghulam Nabi Azad Government which had been reduced to a minority after the withdrawal of coalition partner PDP, he revoked the decision of his immediate predecessor, Lt Gen SK Sinha to allot land to the Amarnath Shrine Board. AGovernor is bound by the advice of his council of ministers and Sinha's decision had been cleared by the Cabinet. No such constitutional niceties for Vohra. He was faced with adouble whammy: The militants were making the predictable noises and aCongressled government in peril. So, he unilaterally decided to withdraw the offer his predecessor made. You wouldn’t expect aseasoned bureaucrat, who has been Union Home and Defence Secretary to be so shortsighted. But he was and missed his target by miles. He wanted to douse Muslim anger but has ended up pitting community against community. This is the kind of response one expected from boorish governors like Buta Singh. Vohra was thought to be cut in the mould of governors like SK Singh, SS Sidhu, and TV Rajeshwar or ND Tewari, RL Bhatia or SS Barnala. The first three, like him, are retired civil servants while the rest are experienced politicians. Not the kind that acts first and thinks later. In fact, as abureaucrat, Vohra was known to think so much that he often forgot to act. An exemplar of such dithering is the Vohra Committee Report that looked into the alleged nexus between criminals and politicians and found nothing more substantive than the fact that there was a nexus. As if that was astate secret. No wonder the report was not fit to be made public. This is not to suggest that Lt Gen Sinha was the epitome of gubernatorial propriety. His political leanings were no secret, dictated in part perhaps by his supercession for Army Chief by the Indira Gandhi government in 1983. But as governor, he must have been doing something right. What else explains the fact that though he was posted in Srinagar in 2003, by the then NDA government, the UPA continued with him till the end of his tenure afortnight ago. In this instance, he did what is expected of any good administrator: To give better sanita- tion facilities to the lakhs of pilgrims. So he got the land transferred. Then followed ugly scenes of PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti holding Sinha responsible for the riots and the latter responding by calling her party anti- national, not to forget that Yasin Malik got yet another chance to fast unto death. Enter Vohra. Government saved, but the two communities are divided like never before. Ideally, governors have no place in aset- up like ours. If they are amust, let them get elected.

1 comment:

pranav kumar said...

i dont know why there is no defined procedure to elect the governor of a state?