Arunachal Guv and Centre locked in awkward tiff

File photo of JP Rajkhowa, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. Photo courtesy - arunachalgovernor.gov.in

File photo of JP Rajkhowa, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.
Photo courtesy – arunachalgovernor.gov.in

Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, who claimed the Centre has asked him to step down citing “health grounds”, has refused to resign, saying he wants the President to dismiss him.

“I want the President to dismiss me. I will not resign. Let the President express his displeasure. Let the government use provisions of Article 156 of the Constitution,” the Governor told a Guwahati-based TV news channel Monday.

Rajkhowa said that he had been asked to resign “on health grounds” weeks after the Supreme Court had restored the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh censuring him.

“I have fully recovered from my illness and I have been discharging my duties after complete recovery. If they want me to quit, the prime minister and his cabinet will have to recommend the same to the President, who will then issue an order under specific provisions of the Constitution.”

“Even a fourth grade employee of the government has to be given in writing if the government wants him or her to resign or even go on leave. I am a Governor and this a Constitutional post,” he said.

Stating on August 27 night a well-known person from Guwahati had informed him over telephone that the government wanted him to resign on health grounds, Rajkhowa said, “I was shocked, surprised a d felt humiliated.”

“I asked the person to inform whoever in the government wants me to quit to call me directly. When there was no such call, I called up the Union Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) and asked if it was true or false. But the Home Minister clearly told me over telephone that he knew nothing about it”.

“Instead, he started telling me that I was doing good work in Arunachal Pradesh. But when I called up another central minister, he called me back on August 30 and said that a decision had been taken at a high level for me to resign on health grounds and vacate my post by August 31,” he said.

“What is my fault that I have been asked to go on medical or health grounds?” the Governor said.

Stating that he was prepared to vacate the Raj Bhavan instantly on receiving the President’s order, Rajkhowa said, “I have kept all my belongings packed since August 30. I have also told my office that if the order (regarding the dismissal) arrives in Raj Bhavan, they should immediately inform me and I will not stay even one minute after that.”

On July 13, the Supreme Court had ordered restoration of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh by quashing all decisions of the Governor precipitating its fall in January, holding them “violative” of the Constitution.

– PTI