Centre bent on UPA ‘clean-up’

Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi

Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi

UP governor quits, others refuse; NDMA chief next

A full-blown confrontation has erupted between the Narendra Modi government and the Congress as the former has virtually launched a drive to remove state governors appointed during the UPA regime. The government is also expected to change the political appointees in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), whose role came under sharp scrutiny after the Uttarakhand disaster last year.

So far only UP governor B.L. Joshi, who was reappointed in March after his term expired, has resigned. Others, including Karnataka governor H.R. Bhardwaj, Assam governor J.B. Patnaik and Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit, have refused to oblige the Modi government.

Up in arms, the Congress has called this a “witch-hunt” while the BJP felt the governors “should resign on their own”.

Congress communication department chairman Ajay Maken lashed out, saying: “Governors, being constitutional authorities, should not be subjected to a public debate. We ask the Central government to ensure constitutional appropriateness. The May 2010 Supreme Court order should be followed in letter and spirit.” Union home minister Rajnath Singh, however, said, “I would have resigned if I were in their place.” The Modi government is reportedly zeroing in on at least 12 governors those of Karnataka, Assam, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tripura, West Bengal, Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, Nagaland and Goa.

Trying to stem speculation that he has resigned, Assam governor J.B. Patnaik said, “I have not resigned. If there is a rumour, I cannot help it.” Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva met PM Modi and this was descri-bed as a courtesy call. She is also scheduled to call on the President. Karnataka governor H.R. Bharadwaj, who met President Pranab Mukherjee, “saw no point in resigning” as his tenure ends on June 29. About his visit to the President, he said it was a “courtesy call”.

Pressure is expected to mount on the Goa and West Bengal governors, B.V. Wanchoo and M.K. Narayanan, respectively, as the CBI was preparing to record their statements “as witnesses” in connection with its probe of the `3,600-crore Agusta-Westland helicopter deal.

As for the Rajasthan governor, Ms Alva maintained that her meeting with Prime Minister Modi was a courtesy call and that she “congratulated” him. Sources said Union home secretary Anil Goswami has sent feelers to the governors and conveyed the new government’s desire that they step down. Speculation is rife that Ms Diskhit, who has refused to quit under pressure, could be despatched to a state in the Northeast.

It was being claimed that the Modi government was in a bit of a hurry to remove the governors since a number of senior BJP leaders were waiting in the wings to replace them. These leaders include Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Mr Lalji Tandon, Mr V.K. Malhotra, Mr Kalyan Singh, Mr Shanta Kumar and Mr B.C. Khanduri.

Comments

It is a shame that absolutely

It is a shame that absolutely corrupt politicians such as Shiela Dikshit enjoy immunity by virtue of being Governor of a state. Such corrupt Governors need to be sacked if they refuse to step down graciously. If people like Shiela Dikshit had a drop of integrity in them, they would not have accepted the post of Governor. The earlier such Governors go the better it would be.

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