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Governor quits to protest transfer

Mumbai, Aug. 24: K. Sankaranarayanan, the first governor to disclose the NDA government’s nudge to UPA nominees, has resigned after he was transferred from Maharashtra to Mizoram.

Sankaranarayanan, a veteran Congress leader who is expected to return to public life in his home state Kerala, told a news conference: “I don’t want to continue as governor. It is not possible for me to go to Mizoram. There may be many reasons in the back pages. As governor, I have never played politics. I will honour the Constitution as it is a Magna Carta for the post.”

Asked if he felt the transfer humiliated him, the outgoing governor said: “In life, there are many humiliations. If you think this is humiliation, I don’t think so. It is up to you (the media) to decide if this is a political vendetta or friendship. Our press people are so shrewd, so capable, so intelligent.”

He added: “In a democratic set-up, no government is permanentů no post is permanent, that will change. Democracy is bigger than anything, we are one of the biggest democratic countries in the world.”

Sankaranarayanan, who had disclosed that Union home secretary Anil Goswami had phone him and nudged him to resign after the change of guard at the Centre, signalled a return to active politics. “I am a free citizen from tomorrow. There will be no protocol. I am free to speak and criticise,” said Sankaranarayanan, whose official tenure was till 2017.

An aide said the Congress veteran had already served in the Northeast as Nagaland governor and he had no reservations about Mizoram. But the way the transfer was announced late on Saturday night was seen as blunt signal to exit.

The governor, 82, also wanted to be close to the best possible medical care available, the aide said.

“The governor felt it was better for him to return to his home state than move to a state from where his Congress colleague Kamla Beniwal was shunted out,” said another source.

Beniwal, who had run-ins with the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was chief minister there, was sacked as Mizoram governor earlier this month.

If Sankaranarayanan rejoins active politics, he will not be the first former governor to do so.

Former Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna, who quit as Maharashtra governor in 2008, returned to active politics and was appointed the external affairs minister in 2009.