After Cabinet reshuffle, Raj Bhavans across the country to get fresh faces
Ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Narendra Modi government is likely to begin the process of filling up vacancies that have emerged in several of the Raj Bhavans.
Raj Bhavans have long been used to accommodate ageing or disgruntled veterans and the current exercise is unlikely to be different.
Modi’s latest and much delayed Cabinet reshuffle has caused significant heartburn in a section of the BJP and the party may look to accommodate at least two of the veterans who failed to find a favour in the rejig earlier in the month.
In the running
According to sources, the two names likely to feature prominently in Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s discussion are former union ministers Bandaru Dattatrey and that Kalraj Mishra.
Dattatreya, the lone BJP MP from Telangana, quit as the Union Minister for Labour following party orders.
Besides the state BJP being unhappy, Dattatreya dropping as a minister also upset backward calls associations who deemed it as an insult.
According to sources, Modi-Shah duo may elevate Dattatreya as a governor to pacify the disgruntled backward classes.
Mishra, who quit as the Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises on account of crossing 75 years of age, is according to sources, a certainty to make the cut.
Among other names being speculated includes former Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel.
Jung’s tenure as the Delhi LG was marked by the acrimonious relationship with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Modi and Shah are likely to initiate discussions on the probable candidates after Dussehra and may finalise the names in October.
Vacancies in Raj Bhavan
Besides persistent reports of Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra expressing his willingness to quit, as many six governors are currently holding additional charges of other states.
Among the six is Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan who has been handling the additional charge of Telangana since its inception as the country’s newest state. Incidentally, Narasimhan’s second term as the AP governor ended in May but has continued holding the office at the Centre’s insistence.
The others are West Bengal Governor KN Tripathi who is in charge of Bihar after Ram Nath Kovind quit the post and subsequently became the President.
Similarly, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is functioning as acting Governor of Tamil Nadu. He is now the longest serving acting governor of the Southern state after he was given the responsibility following the retirement of Konijeti Rosaiah is August 2016.
Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya was given the additional charge of Arunachal Pradesh and the Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit took over the additional charge of Meghalaya after the resignation of V Shanmuganathan following allegations of sexual misconduct. Shanmuganathan was in charge Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
Similarly Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli has the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh since September 2016 after the retirement of Ram Naresh Yadav.