Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal, who had a running battle with then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during her term as Gujarat Governor, was sacked on Wednesday, just two months before her tenure was due to end.
The development comes just a month after Beniwal, 87, was transferred from Gujarat to Mizoram.
“The President has directed that Dr (Smt) Kamla shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Mizoram,” said a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique. Beniwal, however, will be entitled to all the benefits and emoluments of a retired Governor.
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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh refused to comment on the decision. “We have taken a decision… will not be able to give the reason,” said Singh. Manipur Governor V K Duggal has been asked to discharge the functions of the Mizoram Governor for now.
After Gujarat Raj Bhawan records were made public last week, it was reported that Beniwal used the state aircraft 63 times, mostly for trips to her home state of Rajasthan. It is learnt that the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote to the President, citing these reports as a compelling reason for removing Beniwal.
During her term as Gujarat Governor, Beniwal had many run-ins with the Modi government. Citing the Gujarat Lokayukta Act 1986, she appointed retired Supreme Court Judge R A Mehta as the Lokayukta without consulting the Council of Ministers. The state government appealed against the appointment in the High Court and later in the Supreme Court.
Beniwal also rejected a couple of Bills, including one on compulsory voting which had a clause on women’s reservation in local bodies. During the Assembly elections, the BJP hit back by raising a land scam in which Beniwal was alleged to have obtained land from the Jaipur Land Development Authority at below the market price.
Last year, Beniwal and the Modi government had another showdown when she returned the Gujarat Lokayukta Commission Bill 2013.
Beniwal is the second Governor to be sacked by the NDA government after the removal of Puducherry Lt Governor Virendra Kataria last month. Soon after the Modi government took over, some Governors were forced to resign.
Meanwhile, though no official order has been issued yet, it is learnt that former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh is likely to be asked to take over as the Rajasthan Governor.