Refusing to take up his new assignment, Sankaranarayanan, a 82-year-old senior Congress leader from Kerala, said he did not want to continue in the gubernatorial position any longer and that he had sent in his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee. His term was due to end on May 6, 2017.
"I don't want to continue as Governor. It is not possible for me to go to Mizoram. There may be many reasons in the backpages. As governor, I have never played politics. I will honour the Constitution as it is a magna carta for the post," he told a news conference at Raj Bhavan.
A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique issued late last night said Sankaranarayanan has been shifted to Mizoram and Gujarat Governor O P Kohli has been asked to discharge his duties.
To a question if he felt his transfer was humiliation and a political vendetta by government, he said, "In life there are many humiliations. If you think this is humiliation, I don't think so. It is up to you (media) to decide if this is a political vendetta or friendship. Our press people are so shrewd, so capable, so intelligent."
"In a democratic set up, no government is permanent... no post is permanent, that will change. Democracy is bigger than anything, we are one of the biggest democratic countries in the world," he said in a veiled dig at the Narendra Modi government.
Sankaranarayanan also indicated that he may return to active politics. "I am a free citizen from tomorrow. There will be no protocol. I am free to speak and criticise," he said.
Sankaranarayanan was among the first batch of governors who was telephoned by Home Secretary Anil Goswami to put in his papers after change of government at the Centre.
Some governors had given in to the pressure and resigned, while others, including Sankaranarayanan, had dug in their heels and refused to do so.