NEW DELHI, Sept 12 - Acting on recommendation of the Centre, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday removed Arunachal Pradesh Governor JP Rajkhowa and appointed Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan to take over charge temporarily.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said that President has directed that JP Rajkhowa shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and has appointed Governor of Meghalaya V Shanmuganathan to discharge the functions of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements for the office of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh are made.
Sources said that the Centre’s recommendation was forwarded by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Rashtrapati Bhavan last evening, after which the President issued the order today.
The NDA Government had lost confidence in Rajkhowa after the Supreme Court’s verdict and had made up its mind to remove him. Rajkhowa was accordingly sent feelers but the former Governor chose to ignore it and instead sought formal orders from the President, who is his appointing authority.
Rajkhowa has been told “verbally” by a junior Union Minister and a senior official of the Union Home Ministry to step down on “health grounds”, sources said. The Governor’s office, however, said there has been no formal communication from anyone asking Rajkhowa to resign from his post.
After getting the two calls from Delhi asking him to step down, Rajkhowa apparently had approached Home Minister Rajnath Singh to seek clarification on the issue. But the Home Minister did not ask Rajkhowa to step down, sources said.
By rule, Rajkhowa is entitled to a five-year term but it is subject to the “pleasure of the President.” Rajkhowa was appointed as Governor in May last year. The reported move by the Centre to seek Rajkhowa’s resignation came months after the Supreme Court restored the Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh and censured the Governor for “humiliating the elected government of the day”.
“A Governor must keep away from any disagreement or discontent within individual parties, and not get embroiled in political controversies,” the Supreme Court had held while restoring the Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh on July 13.
A five-judge bench judgment on the political crisis that gripped Arunachal Pradesh last year has underscored that a Governor must function within the constitutional framework.