NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday appointed a senior BJP leader as Governor of Bihar, barely days before the Election Commission is to issue a notification for elections in the state, and a Baba Ramdev aide as Governor of Himachal Pradesh.
Former Rajya Sabha member Ram Nath Kovind was made Governor of Bihar, while Acharya Dev Vrat, associated with Gurukul in Haryana’s Kurukshetra, was appointed to the Himachal Pradesh Raj Bhavan.
Kovind was a Rajya Sabha member for two terms -- 1994-2000 and 2000-2006. By appointing Kovind, who had headed the BJP’s Dalit Morcha but wasn’t seen much in the party circles, the BJP could be sending out a message to the Dalit community in the state. Moreover, as the elections are likely to go down to the wire, the Governor’s role will become crucial in the event of the polls throwing up a hung mandate.
Considered close to Yoga guru Ramdev, Vrat has been principal of the Gurukul, which is run on Arya Samaj principles, for three decades.
After his appointment, Kovind expressed his gratitude to the party.
“The party has reposed trust in me and I am thankful for that, especially because the task that has been given is for a poll-bound state. Obviously there will be a lot of commotion, but Bihar is prosperous, historically and culturally. I am happy to go there as I will get a chance to serve the public,” he said.
West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi had been holding additional charge of Bihar, while Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh had been discharging the functions of the Himachal Governor as well.