Assam Governor Ajai Singh
New Delhi, June 5: Oscillating between the recent electoral defeat in Karnataka and the fuel price hike, the Congress, the major constituent in the UPA government at the Centre, is unable to decide on the names of governors.
Two governors have overshot their tenures.
Going by the provisions of the Constitution, President Pratibha Patil can allow them to continue in office even after their terms expire but it reflects poorly on the powers-that-be who shortlist and finalise the names of the aspirants for the gubernatorial posts.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen. S.K. Sinha completed his tenure yesterday. The tenure of Assam Governor, Lt Gen. (retd) Ajai Singh expires today.
Rashtrapati Bhawan sources denied reports that for the first time a governor continued to be in office after expiry of his term.
There is provision in the Constitution that enables governors to continue beyond their tenure with the President’s consent.
Technically, the presidential consent for Assam’s governor could be given by midnight tonight, but that requires the home ministry’s initial approval.
The Congress may hide behind constitutional provisions but its image of being indecisive on vital issues has once again been noticed.
While grappling with worries following the poll debacle in Karnataka and the challenge of galloping inflation in the wake of fuel price hike, the party seems to have overlooked the expiry of the terms of the two governors.
Till now, only names have been floating around with the UPA yet to take a decision on who the new incumbents would be.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said there was no news from the home ministry yet and there was a possibility that the “entire list” may come together.
The “list” is also likely to include a new appointment in Maharashtra where Goa Governor S.C. Jamir is handling additional charge.
The appointment of a governor for Jammu and Kashmir is vital as the state approaches Assembly elections.
For the Congress, it is not just a matter of elections in a disturbed state, but a high stake of saving face after the defeat in Karnataka and before that a string of poll reverses in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh.
The aspirants’ names, however, continue to do the rounds.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Shiv Charan Mathur and former CBI director P.C. Sharma are the gubernatorial candidates for Assam.
Either the government’s special envoy to Jammu and Kashmir N.N. Vohra or former Union home secretary V.K. Duggal may replace Sinha in Jammu and Kashmir.