In a clear departure from its earlier quest to keep the council of ministers young, the government on Monday appointed five BJP veterans as governors with an average age of over 80 years.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan announced the appointment of former petroleum minister Ram Naik (80), former Punjab minister Balramji Das Tandon (87), former Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi (79), former Delhi BJP chief OP Kohli (78) and an old-timer known for his work in north-eastern states Padmanabh Acharya (83) as governors.
Almost all of them are known to be closely associated with BJP’s parent organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Three-time parliamentarian Naik is heading to Uttar Pradesh to fill the vacancy that arose after BL Joshi put in his papers following a phone call from the Union home secretary Anil Goswami.
OP Kohli will take charge of Gujarat after 87-year-old Kamla Beniwal was shifted to Mizoram by the govt for remainder of her term.
Punjab BJP veteran Balramji Das Tondon has been appointed governor of Chhattisgarh, while Keshri Nath Tripathi is heading to West Bengal.
Padmanabh Acharya, another party veteran who has worked in the north-eastern states is heading to Nagaland. He also will look after charge of Tripura till a regular appointment is made there.
According to an article published in RSS mouthpiece Organiser, during a felicitation ceremony in 2010, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat specifically praised Acharya’s work in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya.
According to sources, another party veteran Kalyan Singh has opted out of the contention for gubernatorial assignment as he is said to be more interested in becoming a Rajya Sabha member.
Three Congress veterans serving as governors, Shivraj Patil in Punjab, Sheila Dikshit in Kerala and K Sankaranayanan in Maharashtra, for the moment have got reprieve but their transfer is on cards, which may happen soon.
Delhi BJP veteran VK Malhotra’s name is in contention for Punjab governorship.