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 leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, dubbed Beniwal’s removal as wrong, and said, “It’s a vindictive action… after all it’s a constitutional post.”
Kharge, however, defended the President. He said, “The President has the right to remove (a governor). He did it on the government’s advice, I won’t comment on it.”
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, meanwhile, 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.
Naidu added that there were “serious allegations” against Beniwal, due to which the government took action.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the decision to remove Kamla Beniwal was taken “well within constitutional rules.”
He sought to underline the fact that the decision was taken by the President and not the government.
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.”
The NCP, meanwhile, spoke in different voices.
Party leader Sharad Pawar called the NDA government decision “unfortunate”.
“It’s clear cut political vendetta. It’s most unfortunate how this government has acted,” Pawar said.
Interestingly, NCP’s Tariq Anwar did not criticise the NDA government, only saying, “There were some media reports about her travel expenses. The President has the right to remove any governor.”
The issue was also discussed at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad, among others.
Beniwal, who had a running battle with 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.