Veteran BJP leaders Kailash Joshi, VK Malhotra and Kalyan Singh are the frontrunners for the post of Maharashtra Governor as the Modi government has transferred the incumbent K Sankaranarayanan to Mizoram. The decision in this regard was announced in the week hours. The 82-year old Sankaranarayanan had been transferred to Mizoram for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2017. Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli has been asked to discharge his duties.
Earlier this month, the BJP-led government had sacked Kamla Beniwal as the Governor of Mizoram on the grounds of “gross impropriety”, just two months before her tenure would have come to an end.
BJP sources told Business Standard ”Joshi is a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and the party MP while Malhotra had been MP and associated with sports bodies. Kalyan Singh has been former chief minister Uttar Pradesh. While Joshi and Malhotra have been with the BJP and linked with RSS, Singh had left the party to rejoin. Either of three is expected to get the gubnatorial post especially when the election to the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly will be announced soon.” Further, sources said Sankaranarayanan was appointed by the UPA government and had refused to step down after the BJP led NDA government took over.
A senior BJP leader said a BJP old guard’s appointment will be crucial when the party is confident to oust the 15-year Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government afte the coming assembly poll slated for October.
State BJP unit chief Devendra Fadnavis has termed Sankaranarayanan’s transfer as administrative matter. However, state Congress and NCP have slammed the Modi government for the manner in which Sankaranarayanan has been transferred. They took strong objection against the issuance of order in the wee hours of Sunday.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre said Sankaranarayanan during his tenure had discharged his duties as the Governor quite impartially and keeping the politics aside. NCP chief Sharad Pawar criticized the way transfer order was issued.
Sankaranarayanan in June had refused to resign saying that if an appropriate decision making authority asks him to quit he will definitely think over.
”Union home secretary Anil Goswami called me twice during last week asking to demit the office. I did not reply to him anything. My stand is that the Governor’s post is a constitutional post. The Governor is a representative of the President of India. No responsible person has asked me anything in writing to relieve the post. There is no vacuum in the Governor’s post,” Sankaranarayanan had said.
Sankaranarayanan took over as the Maharashtra Governor on January 22, 2010 and he was re-appointed for five year term on May 7, 2012. He had also served as the Governor of Nagaland and Jharkhand. On August 27, 2011, he was given additional charge of Goa till BV Wanchoo was appointed on May 4, 2012.
Prior to his appointment as Governor, Sankaranarayanan had served as a Minister in several Congress led governments of Kerala headed by Chief Ministers AK Antony and K Karunakaran.