Nagaland governor’s resignation accepted, suspense now over next target

New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee Friday accepted the resignation of Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar, the third to quit in the last one week, and suspense is now mounting who would follow suit.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that he would “not rule out anything”, to queries if the government might appoint new goverors before parliament’s budget session begins July 7, came as mounting pressure to UPA-era appointees to quit.

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B.L. Joshi and Shekhar Dutt put in their papers last week as the governors of Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, even as Congress launched a vocal opposition to what it called “political vendetta” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit and her West Bengal counterpart M.K. Narayanan top the list of those whom the National Democratic Alliance government is trying to ease out of office.

Dikshit so far has given no statement to the media on whether she had been asked to go, whereas Narayanan last week said he was not contemplating resignation.

“I have not yet resigned. I am not obliged to tell you what I am doing,” Narayanan told a battery of journalists June 18.

However, it is being widely speculated that he has succumbed to pressure and will vacate office in a few days.

H.R. Bhardwaj, Kamla Beniwal, Margaret Alva, and K. Sankaranarayanan, the governors of Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, are also on the Narendra Modi government’s list of targets.

Interestingly, all three governors who quit were either former Indian Police Service or Indian Administrative Service officers.

However, no governor with a political background has stepped down so far, giving rise to speculation that it would be a bitter political fight between the Congress and the BJP ahead.