BJP unwilling to spare MPs, Raj Bhavan doors now open for saffron elders

Lok Sabha elections are less than two years away, and the party does not want to vacate seats for bypolls

Published: 29th July 2017 10:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th July 2017 02:06 PM   |  A+A-

Leader of opposition in Gujarat assembly Shankarsinh Vaghela at a public meeting of his supporters on his 77th birthday where he announced he was expelled from the Congress in Gandhinagar on Friday. | PTI

NEW DELHI: With the BJP not keen to spare members of Parliament from the party ranks for gubernatorial roles, saffron elders are hoping for rehabilitation in Raj Bhavans. Former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel along with BJP veterans C P Thakur and Luxmi Kant Vajpayee are apparently in the reckoning to wear the Constitutional hats after decades of active political career in their respective states.

With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than two years away, BJP top brass is coming to the view that the party should not go for by-elections by picking up sitting MPs for governors’ positions. While former Union Minister Najma Heptulla was appointed Governor of Manipur after she turned 75—an unofficial age ceiling in the Narendra Modi-led Cabinet—her colleague Kalraj Mishra survived despite being on the wrong side of age on account of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. He represents Deoria Lok Sabha constituency from the state. “There had earlier been speculation of Mishra becoming a governor, but now that looks unlikely as the party wants to avoid bypoll wherever it’s possible,” said a BJP national general secretary.

Incidentally, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (two states have to have a common governor for the first 10 years as per the bifurcation law), Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya do not have full-time governors. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has also reportedly conveyed to the Centre that the government should find out his replacement in Srinagar.

“Besides Anandiben Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela is also in the consideration for governor’s position from the poll-bound Gujarat. Former UP BJP unit chief Luxmi Kant Vajpayee along with Lalji Tandon, who represented Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency earlier, are also being considered for gubernatorial roles. Former Union minister and one of senior most party leaders from Bihar C P Thakur is also likely to be rehabilitated at one of the Raj Bhavans,” added the BJP general secretary.

The vacant positions of governors are likely to be filled in after the Cabinet reshuffle, which is on the cards after the Monsoon Session, which concludes on August 11. “BJP elders who have proven Constitutional acumen and administrative skills will get the nod from the top brass. Since a few of the large states, including politically sensitive Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Tamil Nadu are without full time governors, the government will get competent people in the key roles by the next month-end,” said the BJP leader.

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