President Pranab Mukherjee early on Wednesday appointed former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit as the Kerala governor, prompting the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party to cry foul.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan communiqué – issued unusually at 3am – announced Dikshit's appointment.
Uttar Pradesh Governor BL Joshi – who has been getting gubernatorial postings since 2004 – was also appointed for a second term. Joshi's first assignment was in Delhi when he was appointed Lt Governor of Delhi in 2004. Since then, he has been in Raj Bhavans of Meghalaya and Uttarakhand before taking over as Governor of UP in July 2009.
Kejriwal alleged the Governor's office for Sheila Dikshit was an attempt to shield her from ongoing investigation where he, as the chief minister of Delhi, had filed an FIR against her for scam during Commonwealth Games.
Article 361 of the Constitution bars any criminal proceedings from being instituted or continued against the Governor and bars courts from initiating any process for his arrest.
But Dikshit runs the risk of losing the gubernatorial office if there is a change of guard at the Centre in the Lok Sabha elections. The UPA government had replaced nearly half a dozen governors after it came to power in 2004. Four governors who did not resign after being informally advised were sacked within a month of the Manmohan Singh government assuming power.