It’s been the trend of governors being non-critical about the government. The First Citizen of the state would never point out mistakes of the government in public. Even the worst-performing government would not face any criticism from the head of the state. Of course, there are exceptions especially when the Central government during whose tenure the governor was appointed and the present state government are ruled by rival parties. The differences are mainly due to political reasons, rather due to political affiliations. While such differences do not serve any purpose, an absolute bonhomie between the government and the governor bring no good to the public either.
Republic Day speech of the Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan this year was nothing unusual. It was all about the government’s achievement, commitment and promises. In Shillong, he hailed the government’s effort to bring back peace in Garo Hills. It’s almost the same words chief minister Mukul Sangma spoke during his Republic Day speech in Tura! The explanations about the schemes undertaken by the government are same in both the speeches. It can be understood that both the written speeches came out from the same office in the government. The governor spoke what the government wanted him to say. There is nothing wrong in the government giving inputs in the governor’s speech. But does that mean he always has to endorse the government. It’s only his office which is expected to take the baton against government whenever needed. And in Meghalaya, things are not sailing sooth that the governor does not need the tool at all.
While constructive criticism from governor about the government is welcome, differences out of political affiliations come only at the cost of public welfare. In the North-east, two states are witnessing ugly rivalry between the two offices. Arunachal governor JP Rajkhowa, appointed by the NDA government, is blamed by the incumbent Congress government for the deep political crisis in the state. The Centre has already recommended President’s Rule in the Himalayan state. In Assam, Congress chief minister Tarun Gogoi comes out very often against the governor PB Acharya, appointed by the NDA government. Fortunately, Meghalaya governor V Shanmuganathan, also appointed by NDA government, has drawn no controversy in the Congress-ruled state so far. However, the governor’s absolute ‘good impression’ about the government is not what is always expected from him. A different role is expected from the First Citizen especially on matters of internal security which the government failed to improve over the years.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 29, 2016)