India

More pro-active Raj Bhavan expected as Gehlot set to take charge as Karnataka Guv on Sunday

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Former Union Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot will take oath as the Governor of Karnataka at the Raj Bhavan on Sunday morning. A man who has risen from being a labourer to now the governor of a state, Gehlot’s stint will be a more proactive one, political parties in Karnataka hope.

The BJP is looking forward to a governor who is a seasoned politician, rooted in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the party. The Congress, on the other hand, is sceptical of possible preferential treatment to the ruling dispensation, given that Gehlot is taking charge as governor within days of resigning as Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.

Both parties, however, are hopeful that the Raj Bhavan will be more active with Gehlot’s entry. “Gehlot is a man of impeccable integrity and comes with a lot of experience. He has the ability to set right the issues in the Raj Bhavan. Over the last few years — for some 10 years now — the Raj Bhavan has been decaying. I am confident Gehlot will be able to correct the issues, “ said BJP MLC Lehar Singh Siroya.

Siroya has been an MLC when H R Bharadwaj and Vajubhai Vala were governors — both times when the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government struggled to come to power in Karnataka. The Raj Bhavan in Karnataka has played a vital role whenever the voters of the state have thrown up a fractured mandate, more so during the tenures of the last two governors.

In fact, Gehlot is no newcomer to Karnataka. As National General Secretary of the BJP in 2006, he was named as the party’s Karnataka in-charge. That was the year the BJP came to power in Karnataka for the very first time, albeit in alliance with the JDS.

Bharadwaj was called the ‘crisis manager’ for the Congress and Gehlot’s appointment to Karnataka as Governor comes at a time the BJP in Karnataka is simmering with infighting. A close confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Gehlot’s appointment is expected to help the BJP set its house in order in Karnataka.

“The current dispensation has turned all Raj Bhavans in the country into an extension of the BJP. Governors have been politically interfering in non-BJP governments. I hope that Gehlot can set his loyalties to the party aside and carry out responsibilities of his office in a fair manner, but I am not very confident,” said AICC secretary Dinesh Gundu Rao.

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