After his surprise omission from the Union cabinet last month, former law minister HR Bhardwaj was appointed governor of Karnataka.
Bhardwaj, 72, is the first Congress veteran to be rehabilitated after the UPA won a second term in office.
His exclusion from the Manmohan Singh government had led to speculation that the Gandhi family loyalist, who had been a minister in all Congress governments since 1984, had lost the confidence of the party leadership.
Though the party did not specify any reason for his exclusion, it was understood that the leadership was not happy with the law ministry’s “handling” of the issue pertaining to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi’s legal matters in the Bofors case.
However, Bhardwaj, a five-time MP, after being left out in the cold had refused to criticise the decision of the Congress high command.
“It’s not a right of any individual to remain a minister forever. My loyalty to my party and my leader Sonia Gandhi is not based on any ministerial berth,” he had said.
It is learnt that the former law minister was initially reluctant to leave Delhi and be consigned to a Raj Bhawan.
To accommodate Bhardwaj, Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur has been transferred to Madhya Pradesh. Thakur replaces Balram Jhakar.
President Pratibha Patil also gave her nod to the appointment of Devanand Konwar as Bihar governor. Konwar, a former minister in Assam, replaces RL Bhatia.