Hoping for a constitutionally correct governor

[Bengia Ajum]

Retired lieutenant general Kaiwalya Trivikram Parnaik is the new governor of Arunachal Pradesh, and was sworn in on Thursday. The present governor, BD Mishra, has been appointed as the lieutenant governor (LG) of Ladakh union territory. He had been sworn in as the 19th governor Arunachal Pradesh on 3 October, 2017. His initial year of tenure was smooth sailing, with hardly any controversies. To his credit, Mishra brought some amount of calmness to the Raj Bhavan.

Before him, there was constant change of governors with no stability. In fact, during the tenure of JP Rajkhowa as the governor of the state, the Raj Bhavan was riddled with massive controversies. The initial year of Governor Mishra remained controversy-free. However, in the later part of his tenure, an organisation called Save Arunachal Movement accused the Raj Bhavan of indulging in wrongdoing by making appointments to various secretariat staff posts, including to the post of the assistant protocol officer, “flouting the state’s recruitment rules.” The SAM claimed that the governor “abused and misused his power and the constitutional post by recruiting the various posts without consulting the Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board and the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.” The Raj Bhavan strongly denied the allegation, but the nature of the allegation was damning and it hurt the image of the Raj Bhavan and the governor himself.

Also, during his tenure, many retired non-APST army personnel were appointed in some of the important positions in the state.

Major General Suresh Chandra Mohanty was appointed as the security adviser to the government of Arunachal Pradesh. Another former retired major general, Ganesh Singh Bisht, was appointed as a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC). He resigned due to the paper leak issue. With Mishra moving out of the state, another former army man, retired lieutenant general Shantanu Dayal, has been appointed as the new chairman of the APPSC.

The people of the state should be alarmed by these appointments. There are enough talented, sincere and honest tribal people who can perform a good job if given the chance. A wrong trend is being set and nobody is saying a word. Tomorrow, who knows, there might be a demand to increase the quota for non-APST in state government jobs if the indigenous people continue to remain silent over such appointments.

Also, these appointments are portraying an image that the tribal Arunachalis cannot carry out the work properly, which is not the truth. The people of state should do self-introspection. As Governor BD Mishra leaves the state to begin his new journey as the lieutenant governor of Ladakh, we wish him all the best in his new innings. He has been appointed as the LG at a time when the people of Ladakh are deeply angry with the previous LG, RK Mathur.

His appointment comes amid agitation by civil society groups in Ladakh – the Leh Apex Body and the Kargil Democratic Alliance – that have been demanding several constitutional safeguards for the newly created union territory, such as inclusion under the 6th schedule of the Constitution that provides protection to tribal majority areas. The locals had flagged several issues about the concentration of power in the hands of the LG and his being an outsider. In the meanwhile, let us welcome Parnaik, the new governor of the state. Hope he will be sensitive to the tribal sentiments and work in the best interests of the state by respecting the Indian Constitution.