Barely three days into office as Governor of Andhra Pradesh, E.S.L. Narasimhan has begun his innings by proactively interacting with leaders across the political spectrum to get first hand information on the ground situation in the State.
Younger to his predecessor, N.D. Tiwari, by nearly 23 years, Mr. Narasimhan spent a busy Wednesday receiving several leaders and patiently hearing their formulae for breaking the month-long impasse. On the previous two days, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and a team of top police officials briefed him on the law & order situation while TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu and TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao reportedly explained their stand on the Telangana issue.
Leaders who called on him later said they got the impression that Mr. Narasimhan’s top priority was to restore normality on the law & order front and ensure that economic activity was put back on the rails. He expressed concern that the current unrest was causing a loss of Rs. 100 crore a day to the State exchequer.
However, the Telugu Desam Party has stirred a minor controversy by objecting to the Governor “summoning” the Chief Minister and police officials, which, it said, was “unconstitutional and had created a sense that the State was under President’s Rule.”
Mr. Rosaiah himself refuted this charge by saying that Mr. Narasimhan had never called for any meeting. It was he who sought an appointment with the Governor. “He is the head of the State and it is his Government. I briefed him about the happenings over the past few days,” he said at a press conference.
The Chief Minister said the new Governor, an IPS officer belonging to the State cadre, was “naturally eager” to know the developments in the State and “one need not read between the lines.”
“Mr. Narasimhan is newly appointed and several of his acquaintances including serving and retired officers are meeting him. There is nothing special in these meetings,” he said.
When contacted for his views, the former Governor of Sikkim, V. Rama Rao, said Mr. Narasimhan was well within his right to get first hand information from officials about the prevailing situation. It was mandatory for the Governor to send a report to the President every month and “the report needs material.”
Mr. Rama Rao said this did not amount to political activity. “West Bengal Governor Gopalakrishna Gandhi summoned the officials to get information about the agitation in Nandigram,” he told The Hindu recalling instances when he himself used to interact with top officials in Sikkim to get a picture of the situation there.
The former Karnataka Governor V.S. Ramadevi said Mr. Narasimhan could have directly interacted with the officials concerned given the turbulent political situation.