Two more governors — both hardcore Congress men — are out of Raj Bhavan as the President’s office on Friday issued a release announcing their substitutes. Both Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj and his Tripura counterpart Devanand Konwar will retire on Saturday.
Bhardwaj was Union law minister in the first UPA government while Konwar, a Congress veteran from Assam, was a state minister. Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah will temporarily hold additional charge of Karnataka while Mizoram governor Vakkom B Purushothaman will look after Tripura. Meghalaya governor KK Paul has been given additional charge of Nagaland after the resignation of Nagaland governor Ashwani Kumar.
The end of their tenure marks a smooth transition amid the Union home ministry’s recent bid to forcibly evict some governors appointed during the UPA’s tenure. Their plan did not yield results as some governors like Kerala’s Sheila Dikshit and Maharashtra’ K Sankaranarayanan refused to budge.
President Pranab Mukherjee had consulted legal advice over the possible role of a President in the event of a governor being removed and was advised that the government has to give solid reasons before removing any incumbent from Raj Bhavan.
Under pressure from the new government, Uttar Pradesh governor BL Joshi and Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt had earlier sent their resignations.
Altogether, there are now five vacancies in Raj Bhavans. Sources feel that two more governors — M K Narayanan of West Bengal and his Goa counterpart B V Wanchoo may also resign soon.
While Narayanan was National Security Advisor during Manmohan Singh’s tenure, Wanchoo was the SPG chief and is perceived to be a Gandhi-family loyalist.