New Delhi: Prominent Muslim face and former Union minister Arif Mohammed Khan, who had earlier quit the Rajiv Gandhi government in the 1980s over its handling of the Shah Bano case, and has been cited many times by the BJP in triple talaq debates, was on Sunday named as a governor, along with three BJP leaders. Arif Khan had also backed the government on its Article 370 move. Five governors in all were appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind Sunday, including the transfer of Kalraj Mishra.
Arif Mohammed Khan was appointed Kerala governor in place of P. Sathasivam, former Chief Justice of India. BJP leader and former Uttarakhand CM Bhagat Singh Koshyari, 77, will be the new governor of Maharashtra, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique. “The appointments will take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices,” the communique said.
BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, 58, has been appointed governor of Telangana, while former Union minister Kalraj Mishra, who was recently named governor of Himachal Pradesh, has been shifted and sent as governor of Rajasthan. Former Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatraya, 72, was appointed governor of Himachal Pradesh, replacing Mr Mishra. Mr Mishra, 78, will succeed former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh, who completed his five-year tenure as governor of Rajasthan. Mr Koshyari replaces Vidya Sagar Rao as the Maharashtra governor, while Mr Soundararajan will succeed E.S.L. Narasimhan as Telangana governor.
Mr Arif Khan’s speech in Parliament in 1985 in the wake of the Shah Bano judgment, extending the Rajiv Gandhi government’s initial support to it, was much acclaimed. However, when that government made a U-turn under alleged pressure from Muslim clerics and brought a bill to nullify the Supreme Court order, he resigned from the ministry. The Uttar Pradesh politician later joined the BJP, but remained inactive since 2007. Recently, when the Narendra Modi government brought in a bill to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq, Mr Khan supported it.
Meanwhile, taking a swipe at Mr Khan’s appointment as Kerala governor, Congress leader Abhishek “Manu” Singhvi said on Sunday that it was an entirely expected decision as the statements made by the former Union minister in recent times were an indicator of him soon getting rewarded by the BJP.
“Congratulations to Arif Mohammed Khan on being appointed governor of Kerala. An entirely expected decision. His statements made in recent times were an indicator of him soon getting rewarded by the BJP. The reward is well deserved and was long awaited,” Mr Singhvi said in a tweet.