New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday slammed the Narendra Modi government a day after Kamla Beniwal was sacked as governor of Mizoram, exactly a month after she was moved to the northeastern state from Gujarat.
Former Union minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said, “This is a flagrant violation of not only the Supreme Court judgement (on removing governors) but also the Constitution.” He reminded, “In 2004, the BJP had approached court against transfer of governors by the then UPA government.”
The government must explain as to why Kamla Beniwal has been removed, Tewari demanded.
Gujarat Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia said, “This is an indication of how the coming days would be. It's a total violation of Supreme Court judgement.”
The Janata Dal-United described the decision as vindictive. "It is clearly a vindictive action, they are taking revenge," said JD-U leader Ali Anwar.
The government, however, defended the move, saying there was no politics behind it.
“Action against Kamla Beniwal is not a violation of Supreme Court judgement. There is no politics behind it. (It has been) done according to the Constitution,” said Union minister Venkaiah Naidu.
Key BJP ally, Shiv Sena, also defended the government move. Party leader Sanjay Raut said, “Kamla Beniwal (had) acted more as a politician and less like a governor.”
Interestingly, NCP's Tariq Anwar also came out in support of the NDA government, saying, “There were some media reports about her travel expenses. The President has the right to remove any governor.”
Beniwal, who had a running battle with Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat chief minister, was sacked as governor of Mizoram on Wednesday night just two months before her tenure was to come to an end.
“The President has directed that Dr (Smt) Kamla shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Mizoram," a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said late last night.
Governor of Manipur VK Duggal has been asked to discharge the functions of the Governor of Mizoram until regular arrangements are made, the communique added.
The sacking brought to an end the gubernatorial tenure of 87-year-old Congress leader from Rajasthan who battled with the Modi government over the appointment of Lokayukta and some legislations during her tenure in Gujarat.
Beniwal was first appointed as governor of Tripura in October 2009 - the first woman to be appointed as governor in the Northeast. However, a month later she was appointed as Gujarat Governor.
Beniwal is the second governor to be sacked after the removal of Puducherry Lt Governor Virendra Kataria. Soon after the Modi government assumed office, some governors were forced to resign while a few a resisted and are still in office.