By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Aug 3 (IANS) In an unprecedented development in the country’s political history, Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Tuesday expressed strong “displeasure” over what it termed attempts by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to “create two power centres” and “interfere in the state administration”.
The 79-year-old Governor’s actions “led to outrage” at the Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and ministers of all three allies – Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress – present.
Minority Affairs Minister and NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik informed media persons that the Cabinet has directed Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte to personally visit Raj Bhavan on Tuesday itself and convey the MVA government’s “intense sentiments” on the issue to the Governor’s aides.
Kunte been asked to meet Koshyari’s Secretaries and brief them on the rights and duties of the Governor as per the Constitution, he added.
The fast-paced political development came even as NCP President Sharad Pawar shared moments of bonhomie with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
“The Governor seems to have forgotten that he is no longer the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, but the Governor of Maharashtra,” Malik said without mincing words.
The provocation for the fresh war between the MVA government and the Raj Bhavan was the Governor’s plan for a 3-day visit to Nanded, Hingoli, and Parbhani districts later this week.
Among his engagements are inaugurating two hostels – one each for boys and girls – funded and constructed by the state government, which are completed, but not yet handed over to the local university.
“It is the prerogative of the state government to inaugurate it and hand over to the university. Hence, it was not appropriate on the part of the Governor to conduct the programme directly without asking the Minorities Department or the state administration. This is an infringement on the government’s rights as per the Constitution,” Malik said.
Besides, the Governor plans to hold review meetings at the Collectorates with the District Collectors of Nanded, and Hingoli on August 6 and Parbhani on August 7, which has irked the MVA government.
“We have no objections to any programmes of the Governor at the universities as planned since he is the Chancellor of all state varsities… But why the other meetings. Is the Governor trying to create ‘two power centres’ in state?” Malik asked.
The Minister pointed out that Koshyari frequently speaks of “how he climbed hills, did this or that” when he was the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand (2001-2002), but he must realise that he no longer holds the post, but is the Governor of Maharashtra.
He expressed the hope that after the Chief Secretary’s briefing, the Raj Bhavan will suitably modify the Governor’s programmes, especially those pertaining to the hostels’ inauguration and the series of review meetings with three District Collectors.
This is not the first time that the Governor has resorted to breaching the rights of the state government and had earlier started taking Covid-19 review meetings, which finally ended after the MVA government complained to the Centre, Malik added.
He said that the Governor has not taken a decision yet on the list of nominations of 12 MLCs from the Governor’s quota to the Legislative Council though the state cabinet has already cleared it in November 2020, as also the list of MPSC Members.
“We are very hopeful that the Governor will do the needful in these pending matters soon,” Malik said, optimistic of an end to the latest bout of friction.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Quaid Najmi