New Delhi: The Congress on Friday demanded that President Pranab Mukherjee dismiss Goa governor Mridula Sinha for committing “constitutional impropriety” and “dereliction of duty”.
The opposition party latched on to Sinha’s admission in an interview that she consulted finance minister Arun Jaitley before inviting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for government formation in the state.
“We urge the President of India to exercise his powers under Article 156 (1) and immediately dismiss the governor of Goa for abdicating her Constitutional responsibilities and oath of secrecy,” Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa said.
He said the President of India has already dismissed the Arunachal Pradesh governor for similar acts of impropriety, saying this will act as a deterrent to other governors to work within constitutional limits. Bajwa said the Supreme Court has reiterated that it is the duty of the governor to “act judiciously” while exercising their powers under Article 164 at the time of appointing the chief minister.
“However, the atrocious admission of governor Sinha conclusively proves that her actions were politically motivated under the clear instructions of the Union finance minister Arun Jaitley,” he told reporters.
Putting forth the Congress’ demands, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP said these revelations demonstrate that the act of the governor to consult the finance minister and not the President of India “is a serious matter of constitutional impropriety and an unpardonable dereliction of duty”.
He asked that since the finance minister could not have advised the governor in government formation, “why should the prime minister not take action against the finance minister?.” “Or are we to assume that he was authorised by the dirty tricks department of the BJP?” he asked.
The Congress leader cited an interview of Sinha where she made the “startling and audacious revelation”, and “shockingly accepted that she consulted Union minister Arun Jaitley” to invite the BJP for government formation in the state. “This proves that BJP manufactured the Goa majority while the governor acted in cahoots with the central leadership in Delhi,” he said.
On Sinha’s claim that she heard that Congress could not elect their Legislature party leader nor get enough support, Bajwa asked “where did she hear it from? Did she hear it from anybody in the Congress party or was it ‘Akashwani’?” “How can she take such a decision without consulting the President of India or without studying its legal ramifications?” he asked.
He said under the established convention in such a scenario, the governor should have approached the President and submitted a report to him seeking guidance for the way forward. “Rather than consulting the President of India or the Attorney General of India, she consulted the Union finance minister who is a party in this case, hence indulging in massive Constitutional impropriety,” he alleged.
The Congress party also alleged that the Constitution is left “bruised and battered, as yet again the BJP subverts the governor for their own petty gains”.