Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh has stoked a controversy with his comment that Narendra Modi should return as the Prime Minister.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday objected to the “unfortunate” remarks. He stated that Singh, as the Governor, should be non-partisan, and that it does not suit the dignity of his post.
On Saturday, Singh had told the media in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh: “Hum sabhi log BJP ke karyakarta hai aur iss naatey se hum zaroor chahengey ke BJP vijai ho. Sab chahengey ek baar phir sey kendra mein Modi-ji pradhanmantri banein. Modi-ji ka pradhanmantri ban-na ye desh ke liye avashyak hai, samaaj ke liye avashyak hai (we are all BJP workers, so we will want the BJP to win. Everyone will want Modi to become the PM again. Modi becoming the PM is necessary for the nation and the society).”
A video of his comments emerged online, and was widely circulated, on Monday. Follow more election news here.
Singh made the comments in a bid to quell protests by party workers after the BJP, on March 21 (Thursday), announced sitting MP Satish Gautam’s name as candidate from Aligarh again. Gautam went to Singh’s residence, ‘Raj Palace’ on Aligarh’s Marris Road, on Friday to seek his “blessings”, but he was reportedly not given an appointment.
On Saturday, BJP workers began a protest outside Singh’s Aligarh residence since morning, gheraoed his car and set Gautam’s effigy on fire. By evening, the BJP high command communicated that its decision will not change, and the Rajasthan Governor subsequently invited Gautam and other party leaders at his residence, where they held a meeting.
Singh’ son, Etah MP Rajveer Singh, later told the media that they are all with Gautam.
Later, in a bid to assuage protesting workers, Kalyan Singh remarked that Modi should be made the PM again.
Governors’ allegiance to Constitution, not party, noted SC
Although there is no constitutional or statutory bar, Governors are considered to be neutral by virtue of the constitutional position they hold. Governors are appointed by the President under Article 156 of Constitution, and should be figures “who can rise above party politics”, a Constitution Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan noted in 2010. The apex court also said that although some Governors may come from a political background, “they owe their allegiance and loyalty to the Constitution, and not to any political party, and are required to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. But there have been allegations even in the past against Governors under different regimes of acting in a partisan manner.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday tweeted: “Personally we have utmost respect for Shri Kalyan Singh ji…he has made [certain] political statements…. The post of Governor is a constitutional post and in a democracy, it is expected from Governors to be non-partisan and maintain distance from party politics. It is really unfortunate that Sh. Singh has made such statements which do not suit the dignity of the post he is holding.”
Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot stated, “We respect the office of the Governor and expect appropriate behaviour but it is unfortunate that the statement given by the Governor makes it clear that he favours a particular party.”
Raj Bhavan officials in Jaipur did not comment on the development.