In the first appointment of Governors by the Narendra Modi government, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday gave his nod to install new Governors in fives states — Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Nagaland.
Ram Naik, Union minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, has been given charge of Raj Bhavan in Lucknow, while former speaker of Uttar Pradesh assembly Kesharinath Tripathi was appointed as Governor of West Bengal. BJP’s veteran Delhi leader Om Prakash Kohli, founder member of Jan Sangh Balramji Dass Tandon and Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya, a member of BJP’s working group on Northeast region, were given charge of Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Nagaland respectively.
Naik, 80, was sent to Uttar Pradesh after B L Joshi, considered close to the Gandhi family, resigned after feelers from the new NDA government to quit. Tandon, 87, was appointed Governor of Chhattisgarh following Shekhar Dutt’s resignation on June 18 after he too was sounded by the Union Home Ministry.
Tripathi, who will turn 80 in November, has been asked to leave for Kolkata after M K Narayanan stepped down following his questioning by the CBI over AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal. Kohli, 78, would take over as Governor in Gujarat after Kamla Beniwal was shifted to Mizoram for remainder of her term till November.
Acharya was appointed Governor of Nagaland after the President accepted resignation of Tripura Governor Vakkom Purushothaman, who was also officiating as Nagaland Governor. Acharya will also hold additional charge of Tripura.
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Most former bureaucrats who occupied the Raj Bhavans in various states stepped down in the wake of NDA government making it clear that they intend to appoint new people in these offices. However politicians who were appointed by the UPA government, including former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit who is now the governor of Kerala, stayed put.
While West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee reportedly expressed her unhappiness over being not consulted before the Centre took a call on the appointment of Tripathi, state minister for panchayats Subrata Mukherjee told The Indian Express: “The powers, functions, duties and responsibilities of the state government and the Governor have been well defined by our constitution. So long as the two follow constitution and established norms, no reason for friction between the two arises.”