Meghalaya governor V. Shanmuganathan has put in his papers as the governor of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. A mere resignation may not suffice as the charges of misusing the Raj Bhavan and converting it into a “ladies’ club”, besides facing sexual harassment charges by a woman who appeared for a Raj Bhavan interview, constitute serious misconduct. There is a clear case to pursue an investigation into the “affairs of state.” But, given the record, the possibility is more of the matter being buried, as was the case with N.D. Tiwari, who was caught in compromising poses in the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad when he was governor of Andhra Pradesh. While cases of sexual indulgences of those who compromise with the dignity of office they held seem to be laid to rest with their resignation, the greater threat to the system is the fall in the stature of those being appointed to hold high posts like governor.
There have been corrupt governors who have misused their sinecure and politically active governors who have meddled in the administration of states. It is the emerging pattern that is a cause of major worry, with the north-eastern states providing too many poor examples in the recent past. In fact, this NDA government’s first appointee to a Raj Bhavan, J.P. Rajkhowa, was dismissed by the President after strictures from the top court over his complicity in dismissal of an elected government. In a bizarre coincidence, he too was governor of Arunachal Pradesh. All these raise the question, do we need governors?