Amid a furore over whether the BJP government is overplaying its hand by trying to get UPA-appointees in Raj Bhavans to demit office, former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan has resigned as West Bengal governor.
A report in The Indian Express said the family’s belonging’s in Raj Bhavan were being packed.
“A dinner hosted by the Governor on Saturday in honour of eminent educationist, Dr Karan Singh, who came to Kolkata for attending a meeting of Indian Museum, appeared to be his farewell dinner,” the report said.
The BJP government had reportedly indicated in the case of Narayanan, Goa Governor B W Wanchoo and Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit that the government would not shy away from using the threat of criminal investigation to oust the UPA appointees. The CBI has said it needs to question Wanchoo and Narayanan in the AgustaWestland helicopter purchase scam case while Sheila Dikshit was head of the Delhi Jal Board during alleged fixing of contracts handed out by the utility service provider.
At the time the deal was being discussed in the UPA regime, Narayanan was National Security Adviser while Wanchoo was head of the elite Special Protection Group. The CBI believes they were present at key meetings where the specifications of the service ceiling were discussed.
As the BJP’s need to replace political appointees of the previous political dispensation is neither new nor surprising.
The Janata government in 1977 replaced appointees made by the previous Congress government. In October 1980, the dismissal of then Tamil Nadu Governor Prabhudas Patwari established the principle that governors serve at the President’s “pleasure” under Article 156 (1), which in turn can be used by the Prime Minister to dismiss any Governor for political reasons, and without assigning any cause.
In more recent years, such mass resignations have become quite the norm. When the UPA formed the government in 2004, it similarly replaced governors including Babu Parmanand (Haryana), Vishnu Kant Shastri (Uttar Pradesh), Kidar Nath Sahani (Goa) and Kailashpati Mishra (Gujarat).