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Ranchi, July 2 – Amid the political differences coming out in the open between the state governments and the Governors in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, the tussle between the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan in Jharkhand has also come to the fore.
Governor Radhakrishnan is seen visiting every nook and corner of the state and is continuously communicating directly with the locals and people of different communities. This “hyperactivity” of the Governor is causing a lot of discomfort to the ruling coalition government, especially the JMM, which is leading the coalition.
The JMM has accused the Governor of working on the behest of the BJP and furthering its political agenda. Even though the Governor himself has not yet reacted to these allegations, the Jharkhand BJP unit has launched a scathing attack on the JMM.
C.P. Radhakrishnan is the 11th elected Governor of Jharkhand. Barely four-and-a-half months into his term as the Governor, which began with him taking oath on February 18, the political tussle continued between his office and the Jharkhand government as was seen earlier also.
Before Radhakrishnan, Ramesh Bais served a term of 19 months as the Governor of Jharkhand. On the issue of allotment of mining lease in the name of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the political war of words between the Raj Bhavan and the state government saw the matter getting heard by the Election Commission and finally reaching the doorstep of the courts.
Meanwhile, several instances of protests, dinner diplomacy, resort politics and special Assembly Session have taken place in Jharkhand. In this tussle for power, right from demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister Hemant Soren to the dismissal of the government, demand for President’s Rule as well as widespread protests by the opposition BJP have continued.
In February this year, Ramesh Bais was appointed as the new Governor of Maharashtra and was replaced by C.P. Radhakrishnan in Jharkhand. With this change announced by the Central government, it appeared that the ‘ceasefire’ between the two constitutional positions — the Raj Bhavan and the state government — had been restored.
However, seeing the political developments that have taken place in the last one week, it seems the fissures between the Governor and the JMM seem to be growing by the day. Radhakrishnan was often referred to in the media as the ‘Modi of Tamil Nadu’ during his active political career in his home state.
The appointment of a politician as the Governor of a state is often seen as his retirement from active politics, but the reason for JMM’s displeasure with Radhakrishnan is his “activism”.
Similar to active politicians actively taking part in three or four government programmes in a day during election campaigning, Governor Radhakrishnan also completed several visits to different districts of Jharkhand in May-June.
On June 18-19, he participated in 10 state programmes across five districts — East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Seraikela Kharsawan, Khunti and Ranchi. Seven of these programmes were ‘Jan Samvad’ (public interaction) through which the Jharkhand Governor interacted directly with school students, locals, farmers, self-help women groups and social workers.
Similarly, on June 23 to 25, the Jharkhand Governor participated in several programmes across the six districts of Pakur, Sahibganj, Godda, Deoghar, Jamtara and Dhanbad. Most of the programmes were of public interaction only during which he not only listened to the problems of the people, but also informed them about the welfare schemes launched by the Central government. He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in almost every public speech and called him an “ideal politician”.
Radhakrishnan has several times said in his speeches that he is not a Governor who rests in the Raj Bhavan. Now the people of the state do not need to come to the Raj Bhavan with their issues or problems, rather he will go before the common man.
He is the first Governor of Jharkhand, who has visited all the 24 districts of Jharkhand by road. The Governor’s programmes are held in remote villages, countryside, panchayat buildings, schools, community buildings, etc.
The truth is that no leader of any active political party has visited as many villages as he has done through the many public programmes during his four-and-a-half month term as the Governor. That too when the political heat is at its peak given the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections going to be held in the year 2024.
This hyperactivity of the Governor has raised eyebrows within the ruling Jharkhand coalition government. The first political salvo on him was fired by the Jharkhand Assembly Speaker, Rabindra Nath Mahato. Mahato is a JMM MLA from the Nala Assembly constituency. He lashed out at the Governor from the podium during a conference of JMM workers in his home constituency on June 25.
The Assembly Speaker said that the Raj Bhavan is working at the behest of the BJP. The Raj Bhavan is constantly creating hurdles in implementing the resolutions passed in the special sessions of the state Assembly, he said.
A proposal to implement the Sarna Dharma Code to ensure the religious identity of tribals was unanimously passed by calling a special session in the state Assembly, but the Raj Bhavan returned this proposal.
A bill to make the 1932 land Khatian as the basis for deciding the citizenship (domicile) was also passed by the state Assembly and sent to the Raj Bhavan, but that too was returned by the latter. It is clear from this that Raj Bhavan is also running on BJP’s political agenda, the Assembly Speaker added in a tweet.
As the political atmosphere heated up after the Jharkhand Assembly Speaker’s statement, the BJP launched a scathing attack on him.
A party delegation led by Jharkhand BJP President Deepak Prakash visited the Raj Bhavan on June 27. The delegation handed over a memorandum to the Governor, in which the latter has been requested to take legal action, terming the Speaker’s statement against the Raj Bhavan as “unconstitutional”, “indecent” and “ill-conceived”.
The BJP leaders said that the Speaker’s post is constitutional, but forgetting the decorum of his post, the Speaker is making statements like a JMM spokesperson.
On June 28, JMM senior leader Supriyo Bhattacharya, in a press conference held at the party office, attacked the BJP and said that the Governor and the BJP were in “cahoots” with one another.
He added that it was very strange that the Governor is praising PM Modi and the BJP by visiting all the districts of the state.
Referring to the meeting of the BJP leaders with the Governor, Bhattacharya said, “They (BJP delegation) had visited the Raj Bhavan to give the Governor tasks on his next visit and setting their political agenda. They had gone to mention that in which division the next tour would be held, what would be its issues?”
In the press conference, JMM questioned the Governor and said: “If you (Governor) are the one who will complete the work of BJP’s Central ministers and leaders, then what will they do? BJP’s Central ministers and leaders are visiting the Governor every week. They are praising Modi ji and his nine years of assuming office as the Prime Minister. Let them (BJP leaders) praise Modiji. The work of the Governor is to give proper advice in the decisions and actions of the state government and not to promote the welfare schemes of the Central government.”
The JMM also said that the Governor is constantly visiting the districts across the state, but he is showing step-motherly treatment to several important schemes launched by the state government. There are many important schemes of the state government, including Sarvajan Pension Scheme, Old Pension Scheme, Savitri Phule Bai Scheme, but they were not even mentioned by the Governor.
However, when the media asked CM Hemant Soren about the allegations being levelled against the Governor by his party JMM, Soren said, “I have a lot of information about these allegations. The Governor is constantly visiting several areas of the state. There is no restriction on his movement. At the moment I will not comment much on this issue.”