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Clock goes tick-tock on seven governors

New Delhi, June 16: The Narendra Modi government is considering a proposal to replace seven governors, including Bengal’s M.K. Narayanan, before their tenures are completed, sources said.

The sources underscored that the final decision was yet to be taken but pointed out that Uttar Pradesh governor B.L. Joshi resigned today.

Joshi has sent his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee, the sources added.

Narayanan, who took over as Bengal governor in 2010 when the UPA was in power, had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Narayanan’s tenure under the normal course will be till January 23, 2015.

Joshi, too, had called on Modi and, later, home minister Rajnath Singh. Joshi’s tenure has ended within months of moving into the Raj Bhavan — he joined on March 6, this year, and would have retired on March 5, 2019.

“Some other governors may resign as early as next week,” a source said.

Kamla Beniwal, the Gujarat governor who had an uneasy relationship with the Modi government when he was chief minister, may also be replaced this month, the sources said. Beniwal’s tenure is otherwise scheduled to end in October this year.

Government sources said that a shuffle could also coincide with the entry of new governors. With the Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand due by end-2014, some governors may be transferred, the sources added.

Chhattisgarh, another BJP-ruled state, is also likely to have a new governor as Shekhar Dutt may be replaced.

Political circles are also keenly watching the fate of Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit. The former Delhi chief minister was appointed governor after she lost to Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party at the hustings.

Nagaland governor Ashwani Kumar is one of the seven who could be changed. The former CBI director and former NSG officer, who was in charge of security for members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, was appointed in March last year. The BJP had criticised the UPA government for the appointment.

The tenure of K. Sankaranarayanan, the governor of Maharashtra, may also be cut short if the government goes ahead with the proposal to change the governors, the sources said.

With Maharashtra going to polls this year, the BJP is understood to have considered Sankaranarayanan’s background as a veteran Congress leader.

Two governors are set to retire by end of the month. Devanand Konwar, now in Tripura after a stint in Bihar, is set to retire on June 28. Konwar was the polling agent to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during one of the Rajya Sabha elections in Assam.

Karnataka governor and former law minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj may also escape the axe as he is set to retire on June 28.

Four other governors are set to complete their tenures this year. Haryana governor Jagannath Pahadia is set to complete tenure in July, Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva in August, Bihar’s D.Y. Patil in November and Assam’s J.B Patnaik in December.