NEW DELHI: On the eve of the Budget Session, the NDA government transferred two governors, including Gujarat’s Kamla Beniwal, clearing the decks for appointment of BJP veterans who did not get a Cabinet berth. According to sources, the list of new governors has already been cleared by the BJP and a formal order from the President’s House is awaited. A communique from the President’s House on Sunday said Beniwal has been transferred to Mizoram for the remainder of her term while incumbent Vakkom Purushothaman will take charge as Nagaland Governor. He will also continue to hold additional charge of Tripura.
Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva has been handed additional charge of Gujarat until regular arrangements for the office are made. According to the communiqué, the changes will take effect from the date the new appointees assume charge of their respective offices. The BJP leadership has cleared the names of UP leaders Keshri Nath Tripathi and Lalji Tandon, Punjab leader Balaram Das Tandon and Kerala’s O Rajagopal for the new charge. Besides, another leader from south, whose name is yet to be cleared, could be appointed.
According to sources, the Home Ministry has been apprised of the new appointments and only formal orders need to be issued by the President. The government may soon transfer other UPA-appointees, including Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit, Madhya Pradesh Governor Ramnaresh Yadav and Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil.
Since her appointment in 2009, Beniwal and Narendra Modi, who was the Gujarat CM for 12 years, had been at loggerheads. Refusing to toe the government’s line, Beniwal, at several instances, had sent back bills, seeking clarifications or raising objections. The friction between the two intensified when Beniwal appointed Justice (retd) R A Mehta as Lokayukta in 2011. The High Court and Supreme Court both upheld Beniwal’s decision.
With the departure of Beniwal, who is to retire in October, things are expected to be smoother for new Chief Minister and Modi’s successor Anandiben Patel.
Reacting to the transfer of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal to Mizoram today, Congress said it was a "political transfer" and an "act to damage democracy" by the BJP.