Maharashtra Governor K Shankaranarayanan has replied to the Centre’s move to transfer him to Mizoram by sending his resignation letter to President Pranab Mukherjee.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqué issued on Saturday night announced the transfer of the 82-year-old governor to Mizoram where another UPA appointee, Kamala Beniwal, was sacked earlier this month. Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli was given additional charge of Maharashtra.
Hours after his transfer was announced, Shankaranarayanan declared that it was not possible for him to go to Mizoram. “I have sent my resignation to the President. I have resigned because I do not want to continue as governor,” he told a press conference in Mumbai.
Shankaranarayanan is the ninth governor to step down after the Modi government came to power on May 26.
The Congress slammed the NDA government’s decision to transfer Shankaranarayanan. “This government chooses to exercise power in an extremely arbitrary manner. uthoritarianism is really in the DNA of the government,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said here.
When the NDA government decided to remove the governors appointed during the UPA regime, Shankaranarayanan was among the first to receive a phone call from Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami suggesting that he put in his papers.
He had refused to heed Goswami’s suggestion, saying he would definitely think of quitting if the appropriate decision-making authority asked him to.
On Sunday, Shankaranarayanan refused to take any political questions maintaining that he has to honour his Constitutional post. “From tomorrow, I am a free citizen, no protocol,” he said.
Asked about his future plans, he said: “I have been a party man. From tomorrow onwards, I am a free man, a party man. I started (politics) from the grass-roots level, went on to become the president of the state unit and later convenor of the United Democratic Front (in Kerala). I know only that work.”
While Kamla Beniwal and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Virendra Kataria were sacked from their posts, Banwari Lal Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), M K Narayanan (West Bengal), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), Vakkom Purshothaman (Mizoram) and Bharath Vir Wanchoo (Goa) resigned following a “nudge” by the Centre.
Shankaranarayanan’s resignation comes barely a day after the Supreme Court sought an explanation from the Modi government on whether Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi had received phone calls from Home Secretary Anil Goswami, asking him to quit.
Qureshi, who claimed that the government presented him with two options, quit or get sacked, has dragged the Centre to the court over the issue.