Rampant misuse of Governor’s office dates back to the Congress era

Misuse of Governor’s office is not new in India, as it has been used by various governments to suit their own political requirements.

The textbook case is that of Uttar Pradesh, where the court intervened and restored the Kalyan Singh government in 1998 after it fell short of majority following the withdrawal of support by Loktantrik Congress and other MLAs.

Then UP Governor Romesh Bhandari immediately dismissed the government and installed Loktantrik Congress’ Jagdambika Pal as the new Chief Minister. Pal was forced to resign three days later after the court restored Kalyan Singh as the Chief Minister.

In 2005, Bihar Governor Buta Singh had recommended dissolution of the Bihar Assembly, overruling JD(U) and BJP claiming majority with the support of 115 MLAs in the 243-member House.

In the same year, Jharkhand Governor Syed Sibtey Razi had allowed Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Shibhu Soren to form the new government, though the NDA had claimed the support of 41 MLAs in the 80-member Assembly. The matter reached the apex court which ordered a floor test wherein JMM could not prove its majority and Arjun Munda of the BJP was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state.

The role of the Governor came under spotlight since 1959 and in the first instance, the E.M.S. Namboodiripad-led government in Kerala was dismissed by Governor B.R. Rao after the bills on cap on landownership and the other on education proposed by the left government led to massive agitation in the state.

In 1967, then Governor of West Bengal, Dharma Vira, had dismissed the government of Ajoy Mukherjee and appointed P.C. Ghosh as the new Chief Minister and the government was formed with Congress’ support.

Another example is that of Haryana Governor G.D. Tapase, who overlooked the Lok Dal and CM candidate Devi Lal and sworn-in Congress’ Bhajan Lal as the Chief Minister in 1982.

In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao had gone to the US in 1984 for a heart surgery when his finance minister N. Bhaskara Rao broke the party and staked claim as CM. He was administered oath by Governor Ram Lal.

Karnataka Governor P. Venkatasubbaiah in 1988 did not allow Chief Minister S.R. Bommai to prove his majority in the Assembly despite the Supreme Court ruling that majority could only be decided on floor of the House.

In 1996, Gujarat Chief Minister Suresh Mehta of the BJP faced rebellion by a group led by Shankar Singh Vaghela and 40 other MLAs. Governor Krishna Pal Singh recommended President’s Rule in the state even after the BJP claimed its has proved majority.




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