The NDA government’s plan to sack Arunachal Pradesh governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa has hit a presidential wall.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee last Wednesday and apprised him about the situation in Arunachal Pradesh, saying Rajkhowa has refused to heed to direct and indirect ‘advice’ from the Centre to step down, sources said.
A governor holds office “during the pleasure of the President” who can withdraw it on the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
Although the government hasn’t made any formal move to recommend Rajkhowa’s removal, Singh wanted to get a sense about the President’s views on the matter. “But during the meeting with the home minister, the President sought more information about the grounds on which the government wants to remove Rajkhowa,” said a senior government official.
Mukherjee, who had gone along with the NDA government’s decision to remove UPA era governors, was guarded on the Rajkhowa issue, reminding the home minister that the Arunachal governor was appointed by the NDA regime.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources confirmed that Mukherjee questioned the merit of sacking Rajkhowa. “Governors are appointed and removed by the President. Union home ministry has no comments to offer in this matter,” said a home ministry spokesperson.
Rajkhowa, who is a former IAS officer from Assam and has a reputation for personal integrity, was appointed governor of the sensitive border state on May 12, 2015.
Rajkhowa had recommended imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal, a decision later overturned by the Supreme Court.
The top court also restored the Congress government in the state and held the decision to impose central rule as ‘unconstitutional’.