Nagaland governor quits, protests transfer



Nagaland Governor Vakkom B. Purushothaman, who held additional charge as Tripura governor, resigned Friday protesting that he was not consulted on his transfer as governor from Mizoram to Nagaland. He is the sixth governor to put in his papers since the NDA came to power at the Centre.

"We have unofficially learnt that Purushothaman has resigned, but no official communique was received from Rashtrapati Bhavan yet," a Tripura Raj Bhavan official told IANS.

Purushothaman, an 86-year-old veteran Congress leader who served in Kerala as minister and assembly speaker and was also elected to the Lok Sabha twice, told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram: "My secretary has sent my resignation letter to Rashtrapati Bhavan."

On Sunday in a reshuffle of governors, Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal was transferred to Mizoram while Purushothaman was transferred as governor of Nagaland with additional charge of Tripura. Kamla Beniwal, 87, assumed office Wednesday as the 12th governor of Mizoram.

Purushothaman is the sixth governor to resign after the Narendra Modi-led government took charge at the Centre May 26. The five governors who quit earlier were B.L. Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland), M.K. Narayanan (West Bengal), and B.V. Wanchoo (Goa).

Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva, who is due to finish her term in about a month, has been given additional responsibility of Gujarat while D.Y. Patil, governor of Bihar, will discharge the functions of the governor of West Bengal in addition to his normal duties.

Criticising the National Democratic Alliance government's decision to ask governors appointed by the previous government to resign, Purushothaman said: "Governors could not be shunted around like government servants. This is a constitutional post and must be accorded due respect."

He said though many people who were appointed as governors may have been full-time politicians, nobody would behave in a partisan manner after assuming office with a constitutional mandate.

"The office of the governor is an august office and nobody has so far shown partisanship or favouritism while holding the post," he said.

"Nobody had asked me to resign, but there was no consultation with me before I was transferred (from Mizoram to Nagaland). Consultation before transfer of a governor is the normal practice," he added.

"In some cases, the union home secretary had sought their (some governors') resignation. What right does a secretary have to make such a demand on a governor?" the octogenarian asked.

Purushothaman said he would continue to be active in politics, but has no intention to hold any political office or be in electoral politics. Purushothaman had around two years left of his tenure as governor.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said last week that the appointments of new governors will be made soon. - IANS