Maharashtra Governor lets it out: Home Secy called asking me to quit

Sankaranarayanan says process wrong; Alva?s office says she will complete term

In a confirmation that the NDA government has been informally asking UPA-appointed Governors to step down, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan on Wednesday said he got two calls from Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami last week, asking him to demit office. He said he had no objection to the Centre?s decision to replace Governors but objected to the manner in which the government was asking him to quit the constitutional post.

?Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami called me twice last week, asking me to demit office. I didn?t reply to him nor expressed my views.

The Governor?s post is a constitutional post. He is a representative of the President of India. He is appointed by the President. No responsible person has asked me in writing to relieve the post,? the Governor told The Indian Express. ?No position in a democracy is permanent. If an appropriate decision-making authority asks me to resign, I will definitely think over it.?

?I am not objecting to the Centre?s decision to change the Governor. I am only pointing to the process initiated. It is being orally conveyed, which is surprising,? he said. He said a Governor is appointed according to the Constitution and there is no confusion as to who has the authority to remove him or ask him to step down.

Raj Bhavan officials confirmed to The Indian Express that Sankaranarayanan was upset with the way he was being asked to step down. ?The Governor?s objection relates to the manner in which the process of replacement has been initiated. He is not in any mood of defiance or holding on to the post. On the contrary, he is looking forward to moving ahead to active politics in his home state Kerala,? said an official.

The Governor spoke to the media a day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh indicated that the government wanted the UPA-appointed Governors to step down, saying had he been in their place he would have quit office.

Many of the UPA-appointed Governors said they have not received any indication from the government so far to step down and preferred not to join issue or be part of the raging political controversy. The Congress has already flashed the 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court at the government and asked it to follow the order in true letter and spirit.

Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva?s office said she will complete her term. The Raj Bhavan said she ?has received no phone call or any directive to quit office?. Her media adviser Raman Nanda told The Indian Express, ?She is in office now and she plans to complete her term.?

Sankaranarayanan and Alva are among the 19 Congress politicians who were appointed as Governors by the UPA government.

A brief statement by the Raj Bhavan in Jaipur said Alva?s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday were ?pre-planned courtesy calls.? ?Margaret Alva, whose tenure ends in August, has received no phone call or any directive to quit office,? it said, making it clear that the Prime Minister did not broach the topic with her.

When contacted, Orissa Governor S C Jamir and Mizoram Governor Vakkom Purushothaman, whose terms end in 2018 and 2016 respectively, said they have not received any indication from the government to quit office.

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First published on: 19-06-2014 at 08:24 IST