New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday dismissed Arunachal Pradesh governor J.P. Rajkhowa from his post with immediate effect.
According to a press communique released from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday evening, “The President has directed that Shri J P Rajkhowa shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.” It said that the president appointed Meghalaya governor V. Shanmugananthan to discharge the functions of governor of Arunachal in addition to his duties “until regular arrangements for the office of the Governor are made”.
The news about his impending dismissal from office have been making rounds after Rajkhowa said in a TV interview on September 5 that he would not step down on his own.
“I will not resign, let them dismiss me…let the president express his dipleasure. Let the government use provisions of Article 156 of the Constitution,” he had said.
As per an Indian Express report on September 3, Rajkhowa, a retired chief secretary of Assam, was asked by the centre to step down on “health grounds”.
On September 5, Rajkhowa confirmed the news to the Assamese news channel DY365, saying, “I was contacted by a private individual from Guwahati on August 29 and was told to resign by August 31.”
He said, “I was shocked, surprised, and felt humiliated. I asked the person to inform whoever in the government wants me to quit to call me directly. When there was no such call, I called union home minister Rajnath Singh and asked if it was true. But the home minister clearly told me over telephone that he knew nothing about it. Instead, he was started telling me that I was doing very good work in Arunachal Pradesh.”
Rajkhowa, who took over the post in June last year, said, “I told the minister that I had returned after treatment 47 days ago and I have been at work since August 13. I also told him that I am fit now.” He asked in the interview, “What is my fault that I have been asked to go on medical or health grounds?”
After the July 13 Supreme Court directive to reinstate the Congress government in the state, which also termed Rajkhowa’s actions to prepone the assembly session and also recommend president’s rule in the state as “illegal and unconstitutional”, the situation turned embarrassing for the Centre. This must have triggered the move to ask him to resign from the post, stating medical reasons.
Speaking to The Wire from Itanagar after the news spread on Monday night, Rajkhowa said, “I have seen it only as in the form of a PIB press release. The formal order is yet to arrive in Itanagar.” On asked if he was dissapointed at the Centre’s move, he said, “Right now, I would not like to make any comment on it, I will speak only after I receive the letter.”