Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who was on Sunday named as Maharashtra’s new Governor, will take oath at Raj Bhavan later this week.
Just as the schedule for his oath-taking ceremony was still being worked out, official sources said that Koshyari is likely to reach Mumbai either on September 3 or September 4. “The oath-taking ceremony is expected to take place a day after his arrival,” an official said.
Koshyari was named as the party’s first Uttarakhand unit president after the state was formed. He served as Uttarakhand Chief Minister from October 30, 2001 to March 1, 2002. Later after serving as Leader of Opposition in the legislative assembly, he served as Rajya Sabha MP between 2008 and 2014.
On Sunday, President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Koshyari as the successor for outgoing Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, whose five-year tenure ended on August 30. Koshyari’s immediate administrative challenge would be the formation of the new state government following the ensuing state polls.
Almost immediately after Rao assumed the Governor’s role, he had faced his first administrative test. “In 2014, political developments jotted up in the state ahead of the state polls. The then Congress-led government fell into a minority after the Nationalist Congress Party withdrew support from the government and President’s rule was imposed in the state,” an official recalled.
While Rao enjoyed excellent relationship with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, even leaders from opposition parties found him approachable. Senior bureaucrats said that a decision to allocate five per cent of the total Tribal Sub Plan directly to gram sabhas, an initiative that was hailed by then President Pranab Mukherjee. It was during his tenure that the government gave gram panchayats in scheduled areas rights over minor forest produce. Documenting development works carried out in the three tribal villages – Jawarla (Nanded), Bhagdari (Nandurbar) and Mangurda (Yavatmal) – he had adopted, Rao had recently published a book.
People, meanwhile, will remember Rao for making the historic Raj Bhavan accessible to the common man. According to an official communication from Raj Bhavan, since 2015 when the doors of Raj Bhavan were opened to people, more than 20,000 citizens had visited the heritage site. A British era bunker, which was discovered in 2016, a museum has now been set up inside the bunker, which was inaugurated on August 2019.
Senior state bureaucrats also recounted how he stepped in when Mumbai University had fallen in a mess on account of delay in the declaration of results. A senior official said that his insistence on improvement in the quality of infrastructure in both agricultural and non-agricultural universities had forced the state administration to adopt some reforms.