VP Singh Badnore, 69, who takes over as the Punjab governor on Monday, will be called upon to perform a crucial constitutional role in the next few months when the state goes to polls.
However, another challenging assignment awaits him in the union territory where he will be taking over as the 15th administrator.
The challenge is to win the trust of the UT residents. Badnore is getting the UT’s charge at a time when the residents feel they have been denied the opportunity of getting the first-ever independent and dedicated administrator.
The residents and their political representatives have been demanding that the UT administrator’s role should be decoupled from the Punjab governor.
The Centre, however, mistimed its otherwise well-intentioned move.
With the elections approaching and parties pouncing at the opportunity, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal prevailed upon the Centre to rescind its decision.
And it’s back to the position that has existed for the past 32 years: the Punjab governor stays UT administration’s boss.
The residents believe that a person heading the UT, exclusively, will be able to devote more time and energy to the city. Wearing the twin hat hampers their functioning and thus the city’s development.
Also, many recent administrators have been involved in unsavoury rows which have done a lot of damage to the chair and thus betrayed the trust of the residents.
Within a year of General (retd) SF Rodrigues’ taking over, a delegation of UT Congressmen backed by Pawan Kumar Bansal, had met prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 to press for reinstatement of the system of having a separate UT head as chief commissioner.
During his successor Shivraj Patil’s tenure too, the residents kept pressing for this demand. The other former administrators were constantly caught-up in controversies.
Lieutenant General BKN Chhibber (1994-1999) was mired in many controversies.
Before him, Surendra Nath (1991-94), who died in a plane crash, remained the talking point for a scandal for years: recovery of allegedly unaccounted-for wealth from the Raj Bhawan.
Perhaps, Badnore can look up to Gen JFR Jacob (1999-2003), who was an NDA appointee, and whose hands-on approach had endeared him to the residents so much that they demanded another term for him.
Takes oath at 4pm on Monday
Badnore will take oath as the new governor of Punjab in the Punjab Raj Bhawan at 4 pm on Monday.
Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice SJ Vazifdar will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Badnore, who will take charge from Professor
Kaptan Singh Solanki, who also holds the charge of Haryana governor.
He will hold additional charge as the UT administrator as well. Badnore, who belongs to Bhilwara in Rajasthan, is a four-time legislator in Rajasthan assembly.
During his last term as MLA, he was the state irrigation minister and has also had an illustrious as a Parliamentarian.
He was a member of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabha from 1999-2004 and from 2004-09 respectively. In July 2010, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha.