Weeks after the Supreme Court restored the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh and censured the Governor for “humiliating the elected government of the day”, Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa has been asked to put in his papers “on health grounds”.
The Indian Express has learnt that a junior minister and a senior officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have conveyed to Rajkhowa that he should resign immediately. But the Governor, it is learnt, is in no mood to step down.
Sources close to Rajkhowa said “there is apprehension that he may be dismissed anytime soon”. When The Indian Express sought his comments, the Governor, who has returned to Itanagar after undergoing treatment in a hospital, said, “I have done nothing wrong. I don’t know the reason. I have served the people of Arunachal to the best of my ability, honesty and sincerity. People are very happy with me.” He declined to speak on the new development.
On July 13, the Supreme Court, while restoring the Congress government in the state, had declared as “unconstitutional” the decision taken by Rajkhowa that first led to imposition of President’s rule and then formation of a new government led by a breakaway faction of the Congress.
A Governor can remain in office for five years but his term is subject to the “pleasure of the President” and, in this case, if President Pranab Mukherjee agrees with the advice of the Centre, Rajkhowa will have to go.
Arunachal Pradesh government sources said that Rajkhowa was contacted by a private individual from Guwahati on August 29 to put in his papers citing health reasons.
A former IAS officer who was appointed Governor on May 12, 2015, Rajkhowa decided to check with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Sources close to the Governor said Singh told Rajkhowa that he was unaware of any such development and that he was, in fact, doing a good job. Sources said Singh assured the Governor he would check.
In the days since, Rajkhowa has been contacted twice by the MHA, including once by a senior ministry official, requesting him to resign. This, despite him insisting that he is fit to work and has been functioning well.