How is social service different from politics? Governor’s rejection of BRS MLC nominations draws flak

The developments came as a surprise as reports of tensions between the Raj Bhavan and the BRS seemed to have simmered down in the recent past.

How is social service different from politics? Governor’s rejection of BRS MLC nominations draws flak

HYDERABAD: Politics is epitome of social service. People in different vocations while taking the plunge into politics too announce that they would dedicate their rest of the life to social service or public service. How could anyone delineate between politics and social service. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s rejection of the candidacies of Dasoju Sravan and Kurra Satyanarayana, recommended to be nominated to Telangana Legislative Council by the State Government, drew huge flak from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi.

Dr Sravan, a doctorate with experience in social service, teaching, IT services, and film making, has all the qualifications to be a representative in the Upper House of the State. Ditto is the case with Satyanarayana, a tribal leader. However, the rejection by the Governor raised questions over the very appointment of governors as prescribed by the Sarkaria Commission.

In June 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the setting up of the Sarkaria Commission by the Central Government of India. Its charter was to examine the relationship and balance of power between State and Central governments in the country and suggest changes within the framework of Constitution of India. One of the important recommendations of the commission was that a State Governor should be impartial and not overly involved in the State’s regional politics.

40 years later, the Commission's recommendations are in the limelight once again as Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan gave a rude jolt to the BRS Government in the State on Monday after rejecting the Cabinet recommendations for the appointment of Dr Dasoju Sravan and Kurra Satyanarayana as Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs), under the Governor’s quota.

The developments came as a surprise as reports of tensions between the Raj Bhavan and the BRS seemed to have simmered down in the recent past.

On Monday, Tamilisai said that both Sravan and Satyanarayana were active in politics and that there was no evidence to indicate that they had achievements to their credit either in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, or social service.

Quoting several Acts and Sections, Tamilisai said that apparently, the pre-conditions required under Article 171(5) of the Constitution for appointing them under the Governor’s quota were not met.

The Governor said that there were several eminent non-politically affiliated people fulfilling the eligibility criteria prescribed under Article 171(A) of the Constitution.

“Filling these posts with people of political orientation will be doing a disservice to the experts in various fields for which the Governor’s quota is set apart. It would be a negation of the provision in the Constitution,” she said.

The Governor requested the Cabinet and the Chief Minister to avoid recommending politically-aligned persons to the council under the Governor’s quota as it would defeat the objectives enshrined under Article 171(5) of the Constitution.

What is interesting is that Article 171(5) of the Constitution states that the conditions for appointment of a Governor too should not politically-aligned. But when Tamilisai was appointed the Governor of Telangana in 2019, she was the Tamil Nadu BJP president.

BRS Legislative Affairs Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy too questioned the eligibility of Tamilisai to become the Governor of Telangana as per Sarkaria Commission recommendations.

The commission states that ,"The Governor should not have been actively involved in politics, at least for a while prior to his/her appointment."

It is notable that in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP had nominated Jitin Prasada, Choudhary Virendra Singh, Sanjay Nishad Tariq Mansoor- all active politicians- were nominated as MLCs by their Governments in 2021.

Reacting to the development, Sravan Dasoju made an interesting observation that, "Social work and politics have distinct roles and purposes, but they are not mutually exclusive. Social workers may engage in advocacy and lobbying to influence policy changes, and politicians may work to address social issues through legislation. The two fields often intersect when addressing complex social problems and striving for societal improvements."

State Agriculture Minister Indrakaran Reddy pointed out that the rejection of MLC nominees by Tamilisai was nothing but pure vendetta. "The BJP Government at the Centre is engaging in politics through the Governor. Governors are advised to act in accordance with the wishes of public Governments. There is no record of any Governor having behaved like this in the past,"

This recent decision by the Governor is likely to have repercussions in the political landscape of Telangana, especially at a time when the State is slated to go for polls in the next few months.

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