New Delhi: After forcing some governors to quit, the Narendra Modi government on Friday sacked Lt Governor of Puducherry Virendra Kataria, in the first such action against political appointees of the UPA regime.
A late night announcement by Rashtrapati Bhavan said,"The President has directed that Shri Virendra Kataria, shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry."
Lt Gen (Retd) Ajay Kumar Singh, LG of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will discharge the functions of LG of Puducherry, in addition to his own duties, until regular arrangements for this post are made, a Rashtrapati Bhavan press communique said.
81-year-old Kataria, former Punjab Congress President and ex-Rajya Sabha member, was appointed Puducherry LG in July last year, replacing another former Congressman from the state Iqbal Singh, also an ex-RS MP.
Today`s decision comes in the midst of Government having initiated the process to finalise the list of BJP veterans to be appointed as Governors to fill up vacancies in various Raj Bhawans
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top leaders are believed to have discussed the issue and shortlisted the names.
Political observers interpreted the decision as probably an indirect signal to UPA-nominated Governors to quit or face removal.
The names doing the rounds for being appointed as Governors include former Uttar Pradesh Assembly Speaker Keshri Nath Tripathi, former Union minister Ram Naik, former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon, former Bhopal MP Kailash Joshi, BJP leader from Kerala O Rajagopal and veteran party leader from Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar.
Following the change of guard at the Centre and the new regime`s pressure, five Governors have already resigned. They are BL Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), MK Narayanan (West Bengal), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland) and BV Wanchoo (Goa).
Two Governors -- HR Bhardwaj (Karnataka) and Devanand Konwar (Tripura) -- retired late last month.