The government has cleared the appointment of National Security Adviser MK Narayanan as the governor of West Bengal. Former home minister Shivraj Patil will take charge as the governor of Punjab.
Former foreign secretaries Shyam Saran and Shiv Shankar Menon are believed to be in the race for the NSA’s post, which Narayanan held for five years.
The Congress has finalised the names of the governors in several other states, though a formal notification is awaited.
Former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt has been chosen for Naxalite-hit Chhattisgarh, replacing ESL Narasimhan. Narsimhan will become the governor of Andhra Pradesh.
Rajya Sabha MP Mohsina Kidwai will be the governor of Jharkhand, taking over from K Sankaranarayan who will shift to the Maharashtra Raj Bhavan.
Himachal Pradesh governor Prabha Rau has been moved to Rajasthan, while former Union minister Urmilaben Patel will enter the Shimla Raj Bhavan.
Late last year, there was talk of shifting Narayanan to Punjab, but the state Congress reportedly wanted a political appointee. Patil’s appointment fulfils that and completes the rehabilitation of those removed after the 2611 attacks like Vilasrao Deshmukh, now a Union minister, and R.R. Patil, who’s back in the Maharashtra cabinet.
Kidwai’s appointment has underlined the need for an AICC reshuffle. She was in charge of Punjab, and Left-ruled West Bengal and Kerala where polls are due next year.
The need for a revamp has been felt for some time. Of the nine general secretaries, four are ministers and therefore overburdened. Though Sonia Gandhi is expected to revamp the AICC after she is re-elected party chief mid-year, a team may be needed before that as the party plans to hold four regional conferences and a plenary session as part of its celebrations of turning 125.