Vendetta Or Right Action: Reason Behind Kamla Beniwal’s Sacking

Governor Kamla Beniwal, who was recently transferred from Gujarat to Mizoram, has been sacked barely two months before the completion of her tenure.

Governor Kamla Beniwal, who was recently transferred from Gujarat to Mizoram, has been sacked barely two months before the completion of her tenure.

“The President has directed that Dr (Smt) Kamla shall cease to hold the office of the Governor of Mizoram,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said.

With this, the opposition parties have started calling it a political vendetta against Beniwal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was chief minister of Gujarat when she was instated as a Governor by the UPA.

Several opposition leaders spoke out against Beniwal’s termination as governor.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said, “It’s most unfortunate how the government has acted and it is a clear cut political vendetta.

“The action taken against Beniwal is vindictive and wrong as its a constitutional post”, said Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry.

Questioning the government’s actions, Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “Home Minister must explain as to why Kamla Beniwal was removed, when in 2004 the BJP went to court against transfer of Governors by UPA Government.”

Terming the action of government vindictive, the JDU’s Ali Anwar said, “The government is taking revenge.”

It should be noted that Beniwal, who is a former member of the Congress party, had often been at loggerheads with then Gujarat CM Modi, most famously over the appointment of a state Lokayukta.

In August 2011, Dr Beniwal appointed Justice RA Mehta as the Lokayukta under Section 3 of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, 1986, which gives the governor the right to appoint Lokayukta without consulting the government, when there has been an extreme delay in making the appointment.

In doing so, Beniwal bypassed the Modi government, which had not appointed anyone to the position since 2004.

However, the government got an unusual supporter for the action against Beniwal in NCP’s Tariq Anwar who said, “There were some media reports about her travel expenses, President has the right to remove any Governor.”

Various media channels have claimed to have known different reasons behind sacking of Beniwal.

The purported reason behind sacking of Beniwal according to NDTV are land scam allegations against her.

According to its report, “She is accused of claiming land from the government after stating in false affidavits that she had tilled the land for 14 to 16 hours a day for 50 years, even when she was a minister in the state’s Congress government”

According to India Today, Beniwal’s sacking “was done in by her love for a nine-seater Beechcraft. Beniwal, Gujarat governor between 2009 and 2014, made 53 trips to her hometown Jaipur on this Gujarat state government plane.”

According to its report, “When Beniwal was transferred to Mizoram from Gujarat in July, she requested the Anandiben Patel government for one last use of the plane to fly her to Aizawl. Patel refused. Beniwal would clearly not let that come in the way of a last ride on the plane. She had clocked 277 flying hours on the Beechcraft in the last three years, giving a new meaning to the plane manufacturer’s ‘B’ logo.

Beniwal dialed Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva, who was to replace her in the Gujarat Raj Bhavan. Alva, was given additional charge of Gujarat and flew into Ahmedabad on the Beechcraft on July 7. Alva requested the Gujarat government that Beniwal be allowed to fly to Mizoram in the Gujarat state plane. The government reluctantly agreed to it as a farewell gesture. Beniwal took off from Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport and flew nearly 3000 km, lulled by the reassuring drone of its twin propellers, to arrive in style in Aizwal’s Lengpui airport on July 9.”

According to Hindustan Times, “The home ministry had sent a detailed reference to the President for Beniwal’s removal citing that she was facing land-grabbing charges in her home state of Rajasthan, sources said. The ministry initiated the process for her removal after receiving a report from the Rajasthan government. Beniwal’s tenure was to end in October. The alleged land-grabbing issue was raised by the BJP in Parliament during the UPA regime. The party had also demanded her removal from the Gujarat Raj Bhavan. President Pranab Mukherjee acted on the reference of the government after seeking a legal opinion on the matter, sources said.”

Whatever the reason, the removal of a governor is prerogative of the President and the government merely provides ground for it.

Creating hullaballoo over it will not cloud the fact.

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