NDA has four new governors and a vacancy

Chennamaneni Vidya Sagar Rao will be governor of Maharashtra State

New Delhi

Continuing with its step by step process of getting the UPA-era nominees to vacate the Raj Bhawans, and then filling them up with its own hand-picked nominees, the NDA put in place four new governors in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Rajasthan; and as it went about its business it secured a vacancy in Kerala with Sheila Dikshit resigning from her post. She is the second governor to have put in her papers after the Maharashtra governor K Sankarnarayanan quit last week.

Former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh (82), who had jumped the gun and announced his selection as early as August 7, moves to Jaipur as the Rajasthan governor.

Chennamaneni Vidya Sagar Rao (69), a former minister of state for home in the Vajpayee government and a former Andhra Pradesh BJP president, will be the governor of Maharashtra. He has been thrice an MLA and also leader of the BJP in the Andhra Assembly. He succeeds K Sankaranarayanan who quit on Sunday on transfer to Mizoram.

The BJP’s former mahila morcha chief Mridula Sinha goes to Panaji as the Goa governor. Sinha (71), a Hindi writer and lecturer-turned politician from Bihar, will replace Bharat Vir Wanchoo who resigned on July 5 after the CBI interrogated him in the VVIP chopper deal.

Sinha has been also chief of the Central Board of the Social Sciences. After her marriage to Dr Ram Kripal Sinha, who moved from education to politics to be a Cabinet minister in Bihar and then a Rajya Sabha MP, Mridula also devoted herself fulltime to the BJP.

Gujarat speaker Vajubhai Vala will be the occupant of the Bangalore Raj Bhavan. He is a former Rajkot mayor and has been MLA since 1985. He succeeds Hansraj Bhardwaj, a former union law minister of Congress, who retired on June 28.

All these developments took place during the course of the day and seem to be moving in the direction of the NDA government’s desire that the UPA-era governors should make way for the nominees to be appointed by the Modi Sarkar in line with the popular verdict of the May 2014 elections.

The new appointees have clearly been rewarded for their past contribution to the saffron cause. Kalyan Singh was the chief minister at that crucial stage when the Babri Masjid structure was brought down by the saffron forces in December 1992. Sinha is an author who is known for her biographical work on Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia. Vidyasagar Rao is from Karimnagar and was among the early winners for the party in Andhra Pradesh, whereas Vajubhai Vala is a 75 year old veteran from Gujarat.

So far senior BJP leaders Balramji Das Tandon, Ram Naik, Kaptan Singh Solanki, Keshrinath Tripathi, and O P Kohli have already taken over as governors in various Raj Bhawans after the Modi government took office.

But in the backdrop of this effort to change the governors, a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi to challenge this exercise. It has been admitted and has been referred to a constitution bench.

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