A senior BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh, Khambampati Haribabu, also the party’s state unit president and MP from Visakhapatnam, has written to the Union Home Ministry, requesting a new Governor for the state, replacing E.S.L. Narasimhan, who is in charge jointly of AP and Telangana.
The BJP leader has argued this is necessary to ensure that AP “gets justice to its requirements as per the Constitutional provisions”.
The two-page letter dated 11 January has taken the Raj Bhavan by surprise as the MP is considered to be a close confidant of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and is known for his sober politics. Sources from the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad told The Sunday Guardian that a senior official from the Governor’s office unsuccessfully tried to contact the BJP leader last week.
In his letter, Haribabu emphasised the need for an exclusive Governor for AP, arguing this has been necessitated by the new capital Amaravati’s fast emergence as an administrative centre. “When Amaravati is going to get a High Court from June this year and Assembly is already functioning, why cannot we have a Governor who can work from here?” he wrote in the letter.
Haribabu’s initiative follows BJP leader in AP Assembly P. Vishnu Kumar Raju’s accusation that Narasimhan has been ill-treating Andhra Pradesh by staying in Hyderabad most of the time. “Unless we have a separate Governor, we cannot get justice,” Raju had told a media conference on 4 January.
Raju’s allegations are said to have been the consequence of an abnormal delay in clearing a Bill passed by the AP Assembly on 28 November 2017 to reduce tax on conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural status.
This bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued by the Chandrababu Naidu led TDP government six months ago with the same provisions. Narasimhan had withheld his assent to the ordinance.
Vishnu Kumar Raju on 4 January threatened to resort to direct action unless the Governor cleared the bill by Sankranti festival (January 15). Narasimhan had cleared the bill the very next day, on 5 January. Political analysts had concluded at the time that Narasimhan’s gesture would dilute the BJP leaders’ demand for a new Governor.
Haribabu, meanwhile, justified his action saying, “He (Narasimhan) is unable to visit AP frequently, and he cannot attend convocations of universities etc”.
Chief Minister Chandrabbau Naidu refused to comment on the BJP leaders’ demand for a new Governor for AP. But opposition YSR Congress leaders are of the view that Naidu had engineered the BJP leaders’ actions.
“Narasimhan had objected to various misdeeds of the TDP government, and that is why the CM is using the BJP leaders to attack the governor,” said YSR Congress leader A Rambabu.