In an exclusive interview with India Today, Gove
As the Rajasthan government controversy refuses to end, Governor Kalraj Mishra finds himself at the centre of the unprecedented political crisis in the state. In an exclusive interview with India Today, Governor Mishra has denied any conflict with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The Governor also expressed concerns about his safety in the times of coronavirus.
Q. Why were you so reluctant to call assembly session at a short notice?
A. I followed the rules. I told CM Ashok Gehlot that if he mentions in his communication that he will seek a floor test as he has been telling the media, I will give permission immediately, but he did not.
Q. But you could have ended the political uncertainty on July 31 instead of stretching it to August 14.
A. I will not get into the political aspect of it but I am not a rubber stamp. I agreed when the 21-day notice was given and even waived off a few days by including the period when the short term session was sought the first time.
Q. Ashok Gehlot says he complained against you to the Prime Minister. Does it make you angry?
A. Well, he is a chief minister and also a politician. As a politician he may be required to say a few things, but I do not take those to heart.
Q. Did PM Modi speak with you on Gehlot’s complaint?
Q. Did you speak with PM Modi or Amit Shah?
A. I have spoken with the home minister a few times explaining the situation here. But with PM, I have interacted informally a few times as I have been doing in the past.
rnor Mishra has denied any conflict with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The Governor also expressed concerns about his safety in the times of coronavirus.
Have you sent any adverse report to the Centre about the Gehlot government?
A. Neither Centre has asked for, nor have I sent any special report. I only send regular reports that I am required to.
Q. There is an impression that you and the state government are in a conflict.
A. I have no conflict with the state government. I point out good and bad things to him and I think he is not a person to feel annoyed over such issues. He also understands every situation.
Q. Do you foresee a situation where you will have to recommend President’s Rule?
A. How can I forecast any such situation? I will act according to the law as the situation demands.
Q. Has Centre asked you to destabilise Gehlot government?
A. Not at all. Nor have I done anything of that sort.
Q. But you have expressed concern about the MLAs being kept in resorts?
A. I told the chief minister that it does not send a good message if ministers stay in resorts. They must work from the secretariat. He understood it and for some time I found that the ministers had started working from their offices.
Q. What is your assessment about the coronavirus situation in Rajasthan?
A. The situation is bad all over the country. Rajasthan had done very well initially and I informed PM Modi who too lauded the state. But then I found things getting bad. Not only the common man but everyone, including VIPs must follow social distancing norms and wear masks.
Q. Are you hinting at photographs of MLAs in resort violating social distancing?
A. I will not comment on it.
Q. Do you have the CM in mind for violating norms? Is he exposing himself too much to the virus?
A. Well, he was not wearing a mask and I asked him to wear it properly when he came to see me once. Next time he smilingly told me, “See, I am wearing a mask.” Yes, I am concerned about his safety and I am happy that he followed my advice.
Q. But are you also concerned about how Sachin Pilot and his rebel MLAs are staying?
A. I have taken it up with the government about all MLAs as also their safe presence in the House. I am happy that Rajasthan assembly will ensure safe distancing but if it is not done, it will have serious consequences because if one MLA gets infected, he can be a super spreader.
Q. Recently health minister Raghu Sharma called you?
A. I had called him and asked about the rising number of cases. But he said that now the government has been testing far more cases than in the initial months and the focus is to minimise fatalities. I hope his approach helps because a huge spread is a matter of concern.