The esteemed position of a Governor arouses awe and reverence in equal measure. A Governor is doubtless the first citizen of the state. Though a ceremonial head, he enjoys authority and power till the President desires. A Governor during his entire tenor in office is also immune to all criminal proceedings. He can’t be arrest or pilloried. Unlike the chief minister or any other democratically elected leader, a Governor’s position is fortified to ward off even a shred of criticism.
Such are the privileges guaranteed by our Constitution. Historically, the post of a Governor is seen as a colonial legacy. Observers have even termed the post redundant in modern democracy which has meandered significantly since independence. The thought of a gubernatorial post conjures up a wall which an ‘aam aadmi’ cannot breach. The gulf between the Governor and the governed has showed no signs of bridging. But, one Governor is consciously treading the path less taken. Ganeshi Lal, Odisha’s Governor can potentially go down in history as one such maverick who created that space and access for the ‘aam aadmi’.
Just a few days back, Prof Lal was seen honouring students of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) with photo-ops. Lal, a brilliant academician in his heydays, heaped the praise on KISS which now houses over 27,000 children, meeting all their expenses and educating them from KG to PG. “KISS is a flyover from India to Bharat. It’s loving those who were never loved, respecting those who were never respected, reaching the unreached and funding the unfunded”, he remarked.
“Before two to three years back, 10000 scientists in a 27 km long tunnel under 300 feet of the earth spent Rs 50,000 crore, were searching for God Particles. If they were to come to this place, there was no need for searching for the God Particles”, he added.
Lal’s visit to KISS coincided with his birthday revelry. He splurged Rs one lakh on the occasion to distribute sweets among the tribal children.
The Governor has been squeezing time out of his tearing office schedules to attend public functions. At the national convention of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), La said, “It is time for Company Secretaries to play a pivotal role in governance structure of the Country. Company Secretaries are the Secretaries of the State and not just the corporates.”
Lal felicitated Odia sprinter and double silver medallist Dutee Chand, profusely complimenting her stamina, hard work and will power. “Strong willpower and determination bring success to anybody. Dutee has got the success due to her willpower, determination, and hard labor. Through her hard work and determination, the star athlete would be able to bring more laurels to the state and the country”, he said.
A Professor of Mathematics, Lal took the plunge into the political stream by joining the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS). He served as a minister in the BJP coalition government in Haryana led by chief minister Bansi Lal between 1996 and 1999. Lal has also helmed BJP’s Haryana state unit in the past. He was sworn in as the Governor of Odisha in May this year.