Vice President Hamid Ansari on Sunday said outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee had told Governors and Lt. Governors that their role was “mainly confined to giving advice to the Chief Minister as there cannot be two functional executive authorities in a state”. He said Mukherjee had also noted that the Governor had no discretion but to accept the verdict of floor test in certain situations.
“In a farewell dinner for Governors and Lt. Governors last week, President Mukherjee spoke about the constitutional design by which ‘there cannot be two functional executive authorities in a state’ and the Governor’s role, therefore, is ‘mainly confined to giving advice to the Chief Minister’,” Ansari said in his speech at the farewell ceremony for Mukherjee in the Central Hall of Parliament.
“He (Mukherjee) added that in certain situations, the Governor has no discretion but to accept the verdict of the floor test. He advised the Governors to perform diligently their constitutional responsibility with regard to the Scheduled Tribes areas in the states,” he added.
Mukherjee’s remarks assume significance in the wake of the present spat between Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy and Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi. There was a tussle earlier between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and then Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung. There have also been instances in the past of differences between Chief Ministers and Governors.
Ansari also lauded Mukherjee for adorning the highest elected office with great distinction and dignity. “His contribution in enriching our national life, parliamentary institutions, and political discourse are highly regarded along with his unshakable belief in the idea of India,” he added.
Ansari said that President Pranab Mukherjee — or Pranab Da, as he is affectionately known — had had a long and distinguish career in public life. “In his parliamentary ‘avatar’, Mukherjee strove to raise the level of debates and discussions in Parliament by erudite articulation on the issues of public importance. His parliamentary performance earned him the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award for 1997.
“He once famously remarked — ‘democracy should comprise of three ‘D’s of debate, dissent and decision, not the fourth ‘D’ of ‘disruption’. This assumes much significance in our present troubled times,” Ansari said.
The Vice President said that no tribute to Mukherjee can be complete without a reference to his role in the governance of the country. Mukherjee held important ministerial charges in government and played a significant role in shaping the policies for progress and inclusive development over the years, Ansari said, adding that in representing India in international fora, he was the consummate diplomat.
“His expertise in economic and financial matters similarly have been much sought after. He was rated one of the best Finance Ministers of the world for 1984 and declared ‘Finance Minister of the Year for Asia’ in 2010,” Ansari said.
The Vice President said the outgoing President combines the qualities of an erudite scholar with those of a seasoned politician. His views and pronouncements on issues of national and international importance have enhanced the stature of the high office held by him,” Ansari said.
From the highest pedestal, Mukherjee has, on several occasions, urged citizens to rededicate themselves to the cause of upholding the democratic values, the Vice President said. Quoting the President, Ansari said: “Our traditions has always celebrated the ‘argumentative’ Indian; not the ‘intolerant’ Indian. Multiple views, thoughts and philosophies have competed with each other peacefully for centuries in our country.”
Wishing Mukherjee good health and long life, Ansari said his rich political legacy holds valuable lessons for us and guide the future generations in public life.