Tamil Nadu

Governors functioning as agents of ruling party at Centre: Yashwant Sinha

Yashwant Sinha with Chief Minister M.K .Stalin at the DMK headquarters in Chennai on Thursday.

Yashwant Sinha with Chief Minister M.K .Stalin at the DMK headquarters in Chennai on Thursday. | Photo Credit: R. RAGU

Charging that Governors in many States were functioning not as agents of the President of India but as agents of the ruling party at the Centre, Yashwant Sinha, the Presidential candidate fielded by Opposition parties, on Thursday said in Chennai that if he was elected to Rashtrapati Bhavan, he would ensure that Governors did not ill-treat elected State governments.

Mr. Sinha, who had visited Chennai to seek the support of MPs and MLAs from political parties in the DMK-led alliance, said, “Now in State after State, we are seeing the conduct of Governors and how they are misbehaving with elected governments at the State level. That is true, even, unfortunately of the Honourable Governor of this State [Tamil Nadu].”

If elected as President, he assured he would ensure that “the light of federalism enshrined in the Constitution continues to burn and Governors do not ill-treat elected representatives and elected governments in various States”.

Mr. Sinha arrived in Anna Arivalayam, the DMK’s head office, where party president and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and senior leaders of alliance parties welcomed him and extended their wishes. During a press meet later, in a veiled attack on the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, Mr. Sinha without naming her, contended: “We cannot have in the Rashtrapati Bhavan a person who will be prisoner of the Prime Minister.”

‘A silent candidate’

Stating that the NDA candidate has remained silent since filing nomination, Mr. Sinha questioned: “Do we want a person in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, who will be absolutely silent or do we want someone who would perform the Constitutional functions assigned to the post?”

Mr. Sinha said he would reach out to all voters and recalled his attempt to speak to the Prime Minister too but “he does not like to talk to me”. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh returned his call, Mr. Sinha said but they could not speak. “I will reach out to all voters.” Referring to political developments in Maharashtra, Mr. Sinha charged that the BJP was supporting a rebel faction of the Shiv Sena only after being aware that if the BJP had formed the government, it would not last. “They found a scapegoat to occupy the exotic chair,” Mr. Sinha charged and alleged the BJP and Government of India “have absolutely no respect for the federal structure of the Constitution.”

Any government, which believed in the Constitution and did not believe in the Hindutva but believed in secularism was “not safe” in this country, he charged. He said his agreeing to contest in the election was “a continuing struggle against the excesses of this government and party, which runs this government.”

‘Misuse of agencies’

The former Union Minister also criticised the BJP government’s alleged “misuse” of various government agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax Department for “political purposes”.

“Media is sought to be suppressed with the use or misuse of the law,” he said and referred to the arrest of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News and said it was a “big blot on the face of Indian democracy.”

Tamil Nadu had a glorious tradition of standing up for its rights, its language, its culture and its values, Mr. Sinha said, adding that the collective responsibility of the country was to ensure that New Delhi did not override the State capitals and did not do what it pleased even if they were against the Constitution.

The peculiar and abnormal times in which the country lived through witnessed Constitutional values being thrown to the wind every day, he said. Mr. Sinha alleged that money was being misused and termed a “opaque scheme” the electoral bonds, which he claimed brought “all the money to the ruling party other party get only a fraction.”

Mr. Sinha is set to leave for Raipur on Friday.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 4:24:32 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/governors-functioning-as-agents-of-ruling-party-at-centre-yashwant-sinha/article65586882.ece