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5 Jul 2017

Spat revives debate on need for governor's post

Devadeep Purohit, TT, Calcutta, July 4: The spat between Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has resurrected a question: do we need governors?
The India Constitution provides governors with the powers to dissolve assemblies and recommend President's rule in a state.
Governors act as the eyes and ears of the Centre in a state but largely stay under the radar by confining themselves to inaugurating events, releasing books and hosting receptions. But the role of the titular head comes under scrutiny when there is a conflict with the elected chief executive of a state.
Last year, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had suggested abolition of the post of governors during an inter-state council meeting against the backdrop of the Supreme Court's criticism of the Aru
The Trinamul Congress, which was once the collateral beneficiary of the "cold horror" statement issued by then Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi when 14 people were shot dead in Nandigram during the Left regime, has sought the recall of Tripathi but not the post of the governor itself.
But a source said the party would not mind a wider debate on the issue in view of the mistrust with which Raj Bhavans are viewed across the country.
Senior Trinamul leader and cabinet minister Subrata Mukherjee said the language used by the governor in the phone call to Mamata "makes us wonder, yet again, whether we need governors at all in this day and age".
Since almost all ruling parties at the Centre have used Raj Bhavans as a gilded retirement home to rehabilitate wounded warhorses or potential rallying points for the disgruntled, governors carry the baggage of their political past.
Allegations of meddling on behalf of the political masters in Delhi under the cover of the non-partisan constitutional title have also dogged them.
Historically, the Congress has had the worst reputation for this. The BJP, some Opposition parties allege, have outdone the Congress in a short period of time.

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