The Modi administration’s move to transfer some of the remaining state governors appointed by the previous UPA administration to less politically-significant states took its first victim on Friday, with newly transferred Nagaland Governor Vakkom B Purushothaman preferring to resign rather than move there from Mizoram.
The 86-year-old sent his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee in protest against the NDA government shifting him from Mizoram to Nagaland without consulting him.
“Governors are constitutional authorities. It is grossly improper to transfer them just like any other government official. That is not fair,” Vakkom said after tendering his resignation.
A Congress party veteran, he had earlier held key portfolios in the Kerala state administration and had been a two-time Congress MP. He claimed “the governor’s position has been insulted”, even though no one had asked him resign.
Vakkom had made his unhappiness known soon after the shuffle of governors on July 6. With Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal being transferred to Mizoram, Vakkom was transferred to Nagaland and given the additional charge of Tripura. But he reportedly did not want to move to Kohima and resigned instead, even though his term was till 2016.
According to The Indian Express, Vakkom’s wife’s health may have been a factor in his decision. A senior aide said Dr Lily Purushothaman is a heart patient and her husband had reportedly been looking for an opportunity to move to a more urban area with better health facilities.
Following his resignation, Vakkom announced that he would now return to politics as a Congress worker but would not be seeking any elected position. There was no immediate reaction from the Kerala state unit of the Congress party on the prospect of the aging leader’s return.
With the Nagaland governor’s position now lying vacant, the Modi administration is likely to shift Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit to the Northeast state.
Despite five UPA-appointed governors resigning after the NDA won the election, Dikshit had earlier made it clear that she would not resign to make way for the new administration to nominate its own choices as state governors. So the NDA is doing the next most expedient thing – moving her to a state where she can spend the remaining 4 years 8 months in her term in political irrelevance.