A day after Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan said Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami called him twice last week and asked him to quit office, Assam Governor J B Patnaik on Thursday criticised the NDA government for nudging Governors to demit office as well as the manner in which it is being done. The move, he felt, was unnecessary.
Patnaik, who meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh this week, said he has not been told either formally or informally to demit office and asserted he will complete his term, which ends in December this year. He said the 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court leaves no room for the government to replace Governors at will.
After Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi, Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt submitted his resignation to the President late Wednesday night. Dutt’s resignation came as a surprise as he had good relations with Chief Minister Raman Singh and never had any confrontation with the BJP CM even during the worst Maoist attacks in the state.
“Unnecessarily, there is a storm in the teapot. Many Governors are retiring anyway. Many are going to retire this year and some next year. I am one of them. I am retiring in December. These places can be easily filled up. The government could have waited,” Patnaik told The Indian Express. “Asking governors to resign… there is an Supreme Court judgement in this aspect in 2010. And the ruling gives no room for government to replace Governors unless there is a very valid reason. ”
On the Home Secretary calling up Governors and asking them to demit office,he said, “It should not have been done. The Governor’s post is a dignified post.” Patnaik said his meetings with the Prime Minister and senior ministers were mere courtesy calls.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.