Krishna sworn in; Sena, BJP leaders skip ceremony

MUMBAI, DEC. 6. Former Karnataka Chief Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, 72, was sworn in Governor of Maharashtra at a ceremony, which leaders of the Shiv Sena-BJP Opposition skipped here today.

Dalveer Bhandari, Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, administered the oath of office to Mr. Krishna. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who flew in this morning before the winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly began in Nagpur, Industries Minister Ashok Chavan, industrialists Vijay Mallya and Viren Shah, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Prabha Rau, Margaret Alva, Subhash Chandra Goyal, head of Zee Television network, the outgoing Governor, Mohammed Fazal, and former Minister of state Kripa Shankar Singh were present.

The Mayor of Mumbai, Mahadeo Deole, was the lone Shiv Sena member to be present. The Shiv Sena had protested against Mr. Krishna's appointment as Governor.

It took up cudgels against the "anti-Maharashtra" stance that he had adopted as the Chief Minister of Karnataka between 1999 and 2004.

At the ceremony, the sole representative of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra, was Energy Minister Dilip Walse-Patil.

The NCP State president, Arun Gujarathi, had earlier said that Mr. Krishna would have to re-think his views on the border dispute.

The NCP leaders were miffed that they were not taken into confidence before the appointment of Mr. Krishna.

The Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, and several Congress leaders and several of Mr. Krishna's supporters from Karnataka arrived here later to greet Mr. Krishna.

Ramdas Athavale, leader of the Republican Party of India, also met him.

`Greetings from Kannadigas'

After the swearing in, Mr. Krishna refused to be drawn into the border issue and said his appointment as Governor had ended all controversy. He said that he was delighted to be in Maharashtra to assume his constitutional responsibility.

"I come from Karnataka and I bring greetings from all Kannadigas to the people of this State so that Maharashtra can prosper and move forward. The State has a great history in its own right," he said.

He said: "The Governor does not decide what Maharashtra should do on border issues. Today, I am talking to you as Governor; I have a strictly constitutional role. The Governor is a representative of the President," he told presspersons.

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