Why is Governor not giving assent to some Bills passed by State Assembly?

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday criticised Governor Kamla Beniwal for “coming in the way” of his government implementing pro-people programmes.

Addressing a meeting in Porbandar after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the 142nd birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mr. Modi said he was at a loss to understand why the Governor was not giving her assent to some of the Bills passed by the Assembly which were intended for larger good of the masses.

He particularly referred to the Bills pertaining to reservation of 50 per cent seats for women in the local self-government bodies and the impact fee Bill which intended to regularise unauthorised constructions in the urban areas after charging some penalty.

“The present Governor is a woman and yet she is opposed to women getting the benefit of reservation of seats,” amidst hooting by the crowd against the Governor. Pointing out that the impact fee Bill was aimed at helping the urban masses who might have “innocently and ignorantly” made alterations in building plans for convenience, but were now facing threat of demolition, “but the Governor has refused to sign the Bill just because it was moved by the Modi government,” he said.

Besides filing an affidavit in the High Court, challenging the appointment of the Lokayukta by the Governor bypassing the government, Mr. Modi had also taken the fight against her to the streets, addressing a largely attended rally of the BJP workers to demand “recall” of the Governor.

Tributes to Mahatma

Before addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister paid tributes to the Mahatma at Kirti Mandir, the ancestral house of the Father of the Nation, where he was born, and attended an all-religion prayer meeting, State Congress president Arjun Modhvadia, who represents Porbandar in the Assembly, and the local Congress member of the Lok Sabha, Vithhal Radariya, also shared dais with Mr. Modi at the prayer meeting.

Mr. Modi later also paid tributes to the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 107th birth anniversary.

Attacking the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, Mr. Modi asked it “compete” with Gujarat in its race for development rather than taking the “path of conflict and maligning the State.” Claiming that the “Gujarat pattern” of development was being hailed “all over the world,” Mr. Modi said it was the only State where the area under agricultural production was increasing despite rapid industrial growth. “But the Congress and the Centre envious of the State's progress, do not see all this and pounce upon Gujarat at every opportunity,” he alleged and asked the people to “give such Congressmen a fitting reply when the time comes.”

In Ahmedabad, the Congress leaders paid tributes to the Mahatma at the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram, while the BJP, after garlanding the statue of the Mahatma at the Income Tax circle, the city's one of the main thoroughfares, later held a “yagna” at a Shiva temple with a prayer “Let wiser counsel prevail among the UPA government.”

The former Chief Minister, Shankarsinh Waghela, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil, and the former Deputy Chief Minister, Narhari Amin, met Shweta Bhatt, wife of the arrested IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who is now under judicial custody.

Mr. Waghela later said he had known Mr. Bhatt's family for long and had come to express solidarity with her when her husband had become a victim of “vindictive attitude” of the Modi government.

The Congress leaders said it was unfortunate that a serving IPS officer was treated like an ordinary criminal by the government when he was arrested.