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Puducherry sack sign to governors

New Delhi, July 11: Puducherry lieutenant governor Virendra Kataria was sacked tonight, the first such action since the Narendra Modi government began easing out nominees picked by the erstwhile UPA government.

“The President has directed that Shri Virendra Kataria shall cease to hold the office of the lieutenant governor of Puducherry,” Rashtrapati Bhavan said in an announcement late tonight.

Kataria was a veteran Congress leader from Punjab before he was chosen for the Puducherry assignment.

Mizoram governor Vakkom Purushothaman, who was shifted to Nagaland for the remainder his term, resigned today, resenting his transfer “without consulting him”. Purushothaman is also a veteran Congressman.

Ajay Kumar Singh, the lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, will officiate in Puducherry until regular arrangements for this post are made, the Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said.

The 81-year-old Kataria, a former Punjab Congress president, was appointed Puducherry lieutenant governor last year.

Several governors, including M.K. Narayanan who was in Calcutta, had resigned after the new government conveyed to them that it would not be unhappy to see them leave.

However, Sheila Dikshit, who was made the governor of Kerala after she lost the Delhi elections, has not yet resigned. It is not clear if the sacking of Kataria is meant to be a signal to Dikshit and other UPA appointees still in office.

They include K. Sankaranarayanan (Maharashtra), Shivraj Patil (Punjab) and Jaganath Pahadia (Haryana). Gujarat governor Kamala Beniwal has been sent to Mizoram.