Following reports about the Central government asking some of the UPA-appointed Governors to resign, Uttar Pradesh Governor Banwari Lal Joshi, who was recently sworn-in for a second term in office on March 6, 2014, was the first one to put in his papers. Joshi, a 78-year-old retired IPS officer from Rajasthan, enjoyed trust of Gandhi family and served as a Governor in more than one state during entire UPA regime since 2004. His second term appointment, which had come right before the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, had raised some eyebrows.
Joshi had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 4, which was officially described as a “courtesy visit”.
While Joshi’s association with Gandhi family had been for long, he had worked in the security of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shashri. During some his visits to the state, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had also paid courtesy visits to Joshi. However, despite his closeness with the family, Joshi had always maintained a low profile. He was accused by some of Samajwadi Party leaders of “sitting on bills”.
Soon after the formation of the UPA-I government, Joshi was made the Lt Governor of Delhi on June 9, 2004 and remained in office till April 2007. Following this, he was appointed as the Governor of Meghalaya and within few months, in October 2007, he was appointed as the Governor of Uttarakhand.
Joshi was made the Governor of Uttar Pradesh on July 28, 2009. His tenure as Governor ended in April 2012 but as no new Governor was appointed, he continued in office for two years till he was formally given second term by President of India on March 5, 2014.
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A 1957 batch IPS officer of Rajasthan cadre, Joshi had taken voluntary retirement in 1991 and had later moved to United States in 1993 to work in the corporate as well as social sectors. He returned from US in 2000 and was made a member of the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission during the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan. He worked as member of the commission till he was made Lt Governor of Delhi in 2004.
During his tenure as Uttar Pradesh Governor, Joshi had come to light for returning the very first ordinance sent by the Akhilesh government, seeking extension of term of Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta. The ordinance was sent back as the term of Lokayukta had already ended. Later, the state government had to send a fresh ordinance extending the term of Lokayukta from six to eight years with retrospective effect.
During the tenure of Mayawati government, Joshi did not clear the bill seeking to constitute a special force to guard memorials. After waiting for about a month, then chief minister Mayawati decided to send an identical ordinance to him for clearance.