In a shockingly controversial statement the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) in its mains exam paper on Sunday, had posed a question to applicants asking 'Critically examine the role of Governor in the State politics in India, particularly in Bihar. Is he a mere puppet?'
This has caused a big furore across all party lines in the state, as per sources. State education minister K. N. Prasad Verma has stated that while the issue was not concerning his department, it was unfortunate such a question was posed and has said that he would be inquiring into the issue as 'anyone would feel bad, irrespective of which party he belongs to.'
Meanwhile, Bihar water resources minister Sanjay Jha has categorically denied the state government's involvement in an autonomous body like BPSC. He also condemned the question saying that BPSC could not 'ask any question they want'.
"BPSC is an autonomous body and has its own procedures, It must take care in the future that such questions are not repeated. The government does not interfere in BPSC's exam procedures. Autonomous does not mean that you can ask anything. They should have respected the post of the governor and not asked such a question," he said.
In contrast, Opposition RJD MLA from Maner - Bhai Virendra, has slammed the BPSC saying:
"It seems some illiterate has prepared the questions. This has crossed all limits. The governor has been humiliated. The person who prepared the question should be taken to task."
The Bihar government and the state's governor has always had an uneasy relationship. While the current Bihar governor Lalji Tandon seems to be friendly with CM Nitish Kumar, it has not been the same previously. In 2011 after its re-election to power, Nitish Kumar was constantly at loggerheads with Governor Devanand Konwar who had appointed six vice-chancellors of state universities which was termed by the government as violating the “unwritten consensus” reached between the governor and the chief minister.
Many politicians and government authorities in the state have held the view that the Governor's role is titular with Economist Saibal Gupta claiming that Governors are 'politically rejected ,non-functional people who forget that they are only the de jure head of the state.'
Similar frictions between the state's Chief Minister and the governor has been since during Lalu Yadav's regime in 1999. The then- Bihar governor Sunder Singh Bhandari had twice recommended the dismissal of the Rabri Devi government. In retaliation, Lalu Yadav had publically performed a havan praying for Bhandari's removal as governor.
The BPSC which is an autonomous government body created under the Constitution of India in 1965, deals with the recruitment for civil service jobs and promotion of civil servants through the Departmental Promotion Committee. It submits an annual report of the work done by the Commission to the Governor of Bihar.