By Sushil Kutty
From Jagdeep Dhankar to Ravindra Narayana Ravi, Narendra Modi’s governors specialize in terrorizing state governments with chief ministers for target practice. Show the Dravidian stock of Tamil Nadu ‘Get Out Ravi’ posters and they will spit, and stomp on them in bottled fury. If nobody isn’t, Governor RN Ravi is the most unpopular man in Tamil Nadu. He wants Tamil Nadu renamed ‘Tamizhagam’ and the popular reaction is “Ah’Chi”.
This was the status of Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at the time when he was relieved of his Modi-given charge to keep West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee angrier than a bee in the bonnet. Mamata could not have gotten a better 2022 present than when the gift of the vice-presidency was presented to Governor Jagdeep Dhankar by the man who weaponized not only ‘Didi ‘O Didi’, but also the post of Governor.
Ask an opposition politician what he thinks of “BJP governors” and it’ll be snorts of disgust. The next thing broadcast will be the falling standards of the average Modi-appointed Governor, the sole person responsible for the sad spectacle of federalism undermined, part of the basic structure of our Constitution, going to the dogs.
Not that Governors and State governments had raging love affairs before 2014. But what’s been ailing governors of Opposition-ruled states, ever since Narendra Modi lodged in 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, is a foul epidemic worse than that launched from Wuhan.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankar made somebody as stalwart and mercurial as Mamata Banerjee to cringe, which called for the governor to be borderline irreversibly rebellious. Dhankar cared little for constitutional niceties. Part of the reason why more West Bengal electorate voted for ‘Didi’ was the bulldog-ish behaviour of Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.
For the Trinamool Congress, Dhankar joining the ranks of good riddance was a godsend. Jagdeep Dhankar was the prime example of a weaponized governor. Also, the best example of a man brought in to shackle federalism, pen it, and guillotine it.
Governors let loose on states are part and parcel of Modi’s SOP. It should not surprise anybody that all opposition-ruled states have Governors at war with state governments. The confrontations are as if choreographed. It is a surprise things haven’t descended to the level of a constitutional crisis.
Fact is, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governors leave very little to the imagination. They are predictable. They are like ‘bots’ with AI. Modi’s governors do not “aid and advice” state governments, they’re keyed for maximum disruption.
The Modi-appointed Governor of Telangana is another example of a loggerhead. Dr. Tamilisai Sounderajan was made Telangana Governor in 2019, and ever since, Dr. Sounderajan has been giving Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashaker Rao recurring nightmares.
It’s been one faceoff after another. In November 2022 Tamilisai delayed clearing the Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill, 2022. Earlier, Dr. Sounderajan was quoted saying, “We’re governors, not rubber stamps to approve every decision made at cabinet meetings attended by CM’s family members.”
Let’s not be fooled, Modi’s governors have their task cut out for them. They are in the Governor’s house to “destabilize” opposition-ruled state governments. Their Pinocchio-like noses poking into every affair of the state.
Modi’s governors have instructions to interfere and impose. One nation, one religion, one culture, one ideology, single election, single tax…homogenize and be done with it, federalism be damned.
The Modi utopia is when all powers are centralised. The office of the Governor is the extension of the Modi government. Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Sounderajan, Maharashtra Governor BS Koshiyari, all of them designed to play the role of the torpedo, supposedly underwater, but often skimming the surface, looking to scuttle and sink state governments.
Like somebody said, Modi’s governors are agents of change, but only when it was an Opposition-ruled state. When the MVA ruled Maharashtra, Governor Koshiyari was a busybody of no mean repute, but now that MVA is the opposition, Koshiyari is not to be seen or heard. It is as if he supped on glue and his tongue is stuck to the roof. Modi’s Governors are a tribe of bots, homogenized. (IPA Service)