After the recent gubernatorial changes, as many as 15 of those now ensconced in Raj Bhavans are former civil servants, police officers or Army officers; four of them are ex-IAS officers, eight are former IPS officers, and one is an ex-Army chief.
With the appointment of the former Central Bureau of Investigation boss, Ashwani Kumar, and ex-National Security Guards chief Nikhil Kumar as Governors of Nagaland and Kerala last week, the presence of policemen in Raj Bhavans has gone up from six to eight.
Those already serving in that post include two former Directors of the Intelligence Bureau, M.K. Narayanan and ESL Narasimhan, who are Governors of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Another ex-NSG chief Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary is now Governor of Meghalaya, while the former IPS officer, B.L. Joshi, is Governor of Uttar Pradesh. And while ex-Special Protection Group director Bharat Vir Wanchoo, now Governor of Goa, has also done long stints in the IB, the former DGP of Jammu and Kashmir, Gurbachan Jagat, is the Governor of Manipur.
Four former Secretaries to the Union government, all from the elite IAS, preside over Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim and Delhi — N.N. Vohra, Shekhar Dutt, B.P. Singh and Tejendra Khanna (the last named is a Lieutenant-Governor).
Arunachal Pradesh Governor is the former Army chief, Gen. J.J. Singh, while the Lieutenant-Governors of Andaman and Nicobar and Puducherry are Lt. Gen. Bhopinder Singh and Iqbal Singh (the last named served as an Army officer before branching off into academics.)
Nothing technically wrong
Given that the Constitution mandates that any Indian citizen over 35 can be made Governor, there is nothing technically wrong with these appointments. But with the gubernatorial position being essentially one where political judgments often need to be made, it is interesting that there is such an overwhelming number of former civil servants, police officers and Army officers in these positions.
Meanwhile, with Mr. Ashwani Kumar moving to a Raj Bhavan, three generations of policemen who have handled the security of the Congress’ first family, the Gandhis, have been elevated as Governors. If Uttar Pradesh’s B.L. Joshi was part of Indira Gandhi’s security team, Mr. Ashwani Kumar was in charge of the security of Rajiv Gandhi. More recently, Mr. Wanchoo was in the SPG for close to two decades, taking care, first, of Rajiv Gandhi and then his wife, Sonia.