Now, Centre 'rethinking' removal of governors

Tepid response, fear of SC ruling bring about change
Last Updated 22 June 2014, 20:45 IST

With only two UPA government-appointed governors putting in their papers after a “nudge” from Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami, the government is said to be reassessing its strategy to effect changes in the Raj Bhavans.

Last week, the governors of Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh, B L Joshi and Shekhar Dutta, had resigned while the government had expected at least a dozen governors to quit.
In all, the Home Secretary is said to have spoken to 18 governors.

But with the outrage caused by his action, there appeared to be a “rethinking” on effecting the changes, official sources said while not ruling out the possibility of a fresh initiative later.

Interestingly, some governors, who were not contacted in the first place, also called up the Home Secretary to find out if they were on the “hit list.”

The sources said West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan may quit soon with the CBI expected to ask him to join the probe into the purchase of VVIP helicopters.

Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayan, who had publicly refused to resign unless asked in writing by an appropriate authority, was expecting the Congress leadership to give him the signal to quit.

Former home minister P Chidambaram had said two days ago that the government must respect the wishes of the governors, whether they wanted to stay or quit.

Several Union ministers, belonging to the BJP, had denied that there was any move for “wholesale” sacking of the UPA-appointed governors after the Congress sharply criticised the government.

With the criticism that the government’s approach to force the governors to exit would fall foul of the Supreme Court’s verdict of 2010, which forbade large-scale sacking for political reasons, there was a possibility that it might go slow on the matter.

Initially, the BJP leaders apparently decided that they would let Congress-appointed governors retire on completion of their term over the next few months.

Those who had a longer term could be transferred – rather than being given marching orders as that would go against the Supreme Court verdict of 2010.

(Published 22 June 2014, 20:45 IST)

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