At a time when the Arunachal Pradesh government remains in limbo and the Congress accuses Governor J P Rajkhowa of taking a partisan position, President Pranab Mukherjee has urged all those who hold constitutional positions to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution.
“Our nation has grown from strength to strength since independence (and) it is primarily due to our steadfast adherence to the principles enshrined in our Constitution,” Mukherjee said in the opening address at the 47th Conference of Governors at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.
Stating that the Constitution is an enduring document that “reflects our aspirations and the avenues to achieve them in an inclusive manner”, he said, “It is incumbent on us all who hold constitutional positions to maintain the sanctity of this sacred text.”
Twenty-three Governors and Lieutenant-Governors are participating in the two-day conference. Among those in attendance were Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Mukherjee had upheld the values enshrined in Constitution earlier as well, notably several times during the intolerance debate last year, what makes Tuesday’s statement particularly significant is the political impasse in Arunachal Pradesh, coupled with persistent complaints of state governments, including those of Delhi and West Bengal, about the governor having become flag-bearer of the NDA government rather than a constitutional functionary above political bickering.
The President also spoke about terror attacks emanating from outside the country and a volatile external security environment that had made 2015 a difficult year for the country.
“We faced challenges from the global economic slowdown, climatic changes, and internal and external security. States having international borders were affected by terrorist attacks that had clear external linkages,” he said.
“Volatile external security environment makes it incumbent on us to upgrade our defence capabilities. At the same time, we have to continue our efforts at resolving all outstanding international issues through peaceful dialogue and negotiations,” the President said.
Central schemes such as Make in India, Start-up India, Smart City Mission and Swachh Bharat can be successfully implemented only if they are run in close partnership with the state governments, he pointed out. As the constitutional head of a state, each Governor can play an inspirational role to ensure the active cooperation of the state, Mukherjee added.
Raising the issue of “distressing pollution levels in urban centres”, the President said “the Governors can play a catalysing role in efforts” to mitigate the dangers to environment that calls for holistic changes.