A call from Amit Shah sealed Guv’s fate

Demand for probe based on letter of Raj Bhavan staff gains momentum

NEW DELHI/SHILLONG: President Pranab Mukherjee accepted Governor V. Shanmuganathan’s resignation in the wake of the alleged molestation scandal but it was a call from BJP president Amit Shah to the beleaguered senior RSS pracharak that sealed his fate on Thursday night itself.
The call to Shanmuganathan came from the residence of Shah.
There was pressure from the party and the Government as well, but upcoming elections in five states, particularly neighbouring Manipur, compelled the cadre-based party to take a hard decision, political sources said. Had he not been asked to quit, it could have snowballed into a bigger issue in Manipur where he was once in charge.
After making inroads into the northeastern region with the Assam victory, the BJP is now eyeing Manipur and the party does not want blotch on its image before the February battle.
The coming Budget session also put enough strain on the Government and the party to ask the Governor to quit forthwith. At this juncture, even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh could not put its argument in favour of its former senior ‘pracharak’.
Sources said the old guards in the saffron brigade left it on the party to handle the situation.
Shanmuganathan came under intense criticism after a section of the employees at Raj Bhavan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee demanding immediate removal of the Governor for “seriously compromising” the dignity of the gubernatorial office.
The letter signed by 100 Raj Bhavan employees, said, “We expect the hon’ble Prime Minister to take action and remove the incumbent Governor of Meghalaya and restore the dignity of Raj Bhavan.”
In the absence of concrete proof, the Governor, under normal circumstances, would not have resigned but could have been transferred to another state. But elections and the coming Parliament session forced the Government to ask him to quit immediately, the sources said.
When contacted, State BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh said on Friday he came to know that the Centre wanted the Governor to step down to facilitate a fair and impartial probe. He said though the victim, who was sexually harassed, is yet to come out and file a case, the police should act on the letter written by majority of the Raj Bhavan staff who had made a series of allegations against the Governor.
“We want the truth to be out at the earliest and for this, there should be a fair and independent probe,” he added.
According to Lyngdoh, the Governor stepped down without proper probe and hence to clear all doubts, the letter sent by the Raj Bhavan staff needs to be probed as the first victim of sexual harassment is yet to file any complaint.
Meanwhile,  as President Pranab Mukherjee accepted Meghalaya and Anurachal Pradesh Governor Shanmuganathan’s resignation, Congress in Delhi on Friday demanded registration of an FIR against him in view of serious charges over his conduct towards women.