A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique issued late Saturday night said that 82-year-old Sankaranarayanan has been shifted to Mizoram and Gujarat Governor OP Kohli has been asked to discharge his duties.
Sankaranarayanan takes over the post after it fell vacant following the sacking of Kamla Beniwal, who had a long-standing dispute with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister. 87-year-old Beniwal was removed just two months before her tenure was due to end.
Earlier in June amid reports that some UPA-appointed Governors are resisting attempts to ease them out of office, Sankaranarayanan had said that he will consider quitting if asked by an “appropriate authority”.
“No post is permanent in a democracy. If a person having appropriate authority calls me (asking to quit), then I will certainly think over it,” he had stated.
Sankaranarayanan has been serving as Governor of Maharashtra since 22 January, 2010. He took oath as Governor of Maharashtra for a second time on 7 May, 2012 after the President granted him a fresh term of 5 years.
The transfer of Sankaranaryana comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court issuing a notice to the Centre on Uttarakhand Governor’s plea challenging Modi government’s moves to ease him out of office, bringing the controversy over removal of UPA-appointed Governors under judicial lens.
The apex court had also issued notice to Home Secretary Anil Goswami who had allegedly threatened Governor Aziz Qureshi to resign from the post or face removal by Centre.
Qureshi is the first Governor to move Supreme Court against the Modi government which has sacked two Governors. Four other Governors by UPA have resigned since the NDA came to power in May this year.
Virendra Kataria, a former Congress leader, was also sacked as Puducherry Governor last month.
Goswami is believed to have telephoned some of the Governors, appointed by the previous UPA regime, asking them to step down after which West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan, Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar, UP Governor B L Joshi and Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt put in their papers.