On the day President Pranab Mukherjee accepted West Bengal governor MK Narayanan’s resignation, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday signalled that the process to appoint replacements to six Raj Bhavans would begin over the weekend.
“We will very soon appoint some governors,” home minister Rajnath Singh told reporters. He didn’t set a timeline for the new appointments though.
But government sources told HT that a couple of veteran BJP leaders are the top contenders.
Six governors have already completed their terms or agreed to quit after a nudge from the MHA. There are hints that Singh will wait for some more time for others in the firing line to step down on their own.
“If they do not, the government would look at other ways,” a government source told HT. One option would be to transfer the governor to a less important state. The other would be to sack them.
The Supreme Court had held in a 2010 judgment held that the Centre could not remove governors arbitrarily. If it did, the governors or others could move court.
An MHA source, however, indicated this judgment had the effect of discouraging sacking of governors but left a window open. “The SC verdict required the government to provide cogent reasons... We will provide the reasons,” the source said.
Four governors — BL Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), MK Narayanan (West Bengal), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh) and Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland) — have rendered their resignations, while two more — H R Bhardwaj (Karnataka) and Devanand Konwar (Tripura) — were told to leave as soon as they completed their term last month.
Former UP CM Kalyan Singh, former UP assembly speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi, Delhi BJP leader VK Malhotra, former union ministers Ram Naik and O Rajagopal and former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon may also get the coveted post.