The BJP has appointed its leaders as governors to consolidate its power over states, its warring ally Shiv Sena said on Friday and demanded that capable leaders from ally parties be named for gubernatorial posts too.
Shiv Sena’s criticism comes after the Modi government named its four senior leaders as governors and lieutenant governor: Former Union minister Najma Heptulla for Manipur, former Rajya Sabha MP VP Singh Badnore for Punjab, Banwarilal Purohit, a three-time former MP from Nagpur, for Assam, and former MLA Jagdish Mukhi for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“Until now, all the governors appointed by the Modi government had been leaders of the BJP. If governors’ positions have to go to party leaders, then even its alliance partners — such as the Telugu Desam Party, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena — have many former MPs, MLAs and former ministers ready to take up the responsibility,” the party said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna.
The mouthpiece further said the BJP has been using the gubernatorial post as a post-retirement plan for its veteran leaders.
The allies have been on a collision course over ministerial births in the state and at the Centre, and chairmanships of plum trusts and corporations.
The BJP has been following the precedent set by the Congress in making political appointments to the apolitical post, the mouthpiece said.
The Shiv Sena further said that since it is clear that all governors’ appointments are purely of a political nature, there will be no reason to hide any political agenda.
“Manipur and Punjab are soon going to the polls, and the newly appointed governors will get a chance to fulfil their political duties,” the party said.
It added, for border states, where the responsibility is more acute owing to security and political unrest, traditionally the government has been appointing retired defence or police officers as governors or lieutenant governors. However, despite this, the BJP-led government replaced a retired Lieutenant General in Andaman and Nicobar and appointed BJP leader Mukhi in his place, the Saamna editorial said.
“There are many experienced and capable leaders in ally parties as well, but as long as the government is run by the ‘280 wale’ (the majority party), it doesn’t seem like anyone will pay heed to the party’s friends,” the Shiv Sena said.