New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sprang a surprise by naming Gujarat Speaker Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala as governor of Karnataka.
Three other senior BJP leaders were chosen for Raj Bhavans in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa. The appointments came on a day when yet another UPA-appointee, Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit, resigned from the post.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh will go to Rajasthan as governor, while former Union minister Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who hails from Telangana, will be the new governor of Maharashtra. Former Mahila Morcha president and writer Mridula Sinha is the new Goa governor.
Modi’s choice for four states has left veterans like Lalji Tandon, V K Malhotra and O Rajagopal on an uncertain wicket as they did not manage to figure in the list despite being in the reckoning from the beginning. The new government has already chosen governors for 10 states in the past 40 days.
Soon after issuing a press release on the appointments, the Rashtrapati Bhavan issued another statement in which it said President Pranab Mukherjee had accepted the resignation of K Shankaranarayanan as Maharashtra governor after his transfer to Mizoram. Manipur Governor V K Duggal will continue to hold additional charge of Mizoram until an alternative arrangement is made.
Karnataka is getting a full-time governor after a gap of almost two months. Previous incumbent H R Bhardwaj’s tenure ended on June 29. Since then, Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah has held additional charge of Karnataka.
The choice of 76-year-old Vala, whose tenure as Rajkot MLA ends in December 2017, came as a surprise as Rajagopal and former attorney general Soli J Sorabjee were in contention for the job. Vala was Gujarat finance minister for 18 years before being elected Speaker last year.
Kalyan Singh (82) was initially reluctant for a gubernatorial assignment, but relented after being persuaded. Rao (69) was a minister in the A B Vajpayee regime, while 72-year-old party veteran Sinha is a Hindi writer of repute.
In Delhi, Dikshit said she put in papers soon after meeting the President on Monday afternoon. The former Delhi chief minister, who had also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, is the eighth UPA-appointed governor to quit. Earlier, Mizoram Governor Kamla Beniwal and Puducherry Lt Governor Virendra Kataria were sacked.
“I have resigned, I did it yesterday (Monday) and I don’t want to comment further,” Dikshit said.