Chandigarh, Punjab: The Centre should discontinue its practice of naming only retired Army generals or retired police chiefs as Governor of Punjab, says Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar). Since the present incumbent, Gen SF Rodriguez (retd), has completed his conventional five-year term in office, Mann wants that he should be immediately replaced and Punjab should be spared the agony of another Governor from the forces. He was talking to The Tribune here today.
He alleged that the Governor hardly visited Punjab. His visits to different parts of the state could be counted on fingertips, Mann said.
Besides enjoying Constitutional sanctity, the gubernatorial positions should go to eminent personalities with spotless credentials. Unfortunately, the developments during the past couple of years, including allegations and counter-allegations, have not only lowered the prestige of this top post in the state administration but have also left serious questions unanswered.
“Punjab has a long history of having retired Army chiefs or retired bureaucrats, including police officers, as its Governor. The experiment has been far from successful. No other state had so many Army generals as Governor than what Punjab had in the past 25 years.
“If a retired General is made the Governor and he fails to reach the venue of a sacred function like Republic Day Parade in time, there could not be a bigger disgrace to the nation than this. It was unfortunate that the then Chief Secretary, Ramesh Inder Singh, took control of the situation and unfurled the National Flag as scheduled to avoid any national embarrassment. In my opinion, the Governor should have been sacked on that day itself,” adds Mann.
Former MP and head of a state-level political party, Mann wants that the Prime Minister, who has been declaring at all public forums to fight and end corruption in the civil governance, should order an inquiry by the CBI into allegations made against the Punjab Governor by none other than the Congress, his own party.
He said Punjab should not be singled out so far as appointing Governors from the armed forces or civil services was concerned. Punjab had three Army generals — General Malhotra, General Chhibber and General Jacob — before General Rodriguez as Governor besides Surinder Nath, a retired police officer.
Mann says it will be in the interest of the state and the nation that all allegations made against a Constitutional head by the ruling party and others should be thoroughly probed in the interest of transparency and fair play in the civil administration.
He hoped that an eminent statesman with flawless record would be made the next Governor of Punjab so that he or she can give the state administration a correct, democratic and progressive direction.