Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah addresses a press conference in Srinagar, on Oct 12, 2015.
Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah addresses a press conference in Srinagar, on Oct 12, 2015.IANS

President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday appointed BJP leader Najma Heptulla governor of poll-bound Manipur, just weeks after she resigned as the Union Minority Affairs minister.

He also appointed political veteran Banwarilal Purohit, Governor of Assam, VP Singh Badnore Governor of Punjab, and Jagdish Mukhi Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The move to appoint mostly BJP leaders as governors and lieutenant governors was being viewed as politically motivated, as had been the case earlier, when several former BJP top leaders were appointed to similar posts, like Kiran Bedi in Puducherry or Kesri Nath Tripathi in West Bengal.

It may be noted that the BJP has a new internal rule, wherein no leader above 75 years of age can hold any major position, either within the party or in the government. Heptulla is said to have fallen under the purview of this rule and resigned.

The appointment of Banwarilal Purohit as Assam governor has come as a bit of a surprise, given that he has flip-flopped between the Congress and the BJP when trying to contest from Nagpur. He was even appointed the leader of the Vidarbha Rajya Party, and tried to win votes by fighting on the "separate Vidarbha" platform, but to little avail. 

However, he has been a loyal member of the BJP for quite some time now, and it is possibly this loyalty that has been rewarded. 

The appointment of Jagdish Mukhi as L-G of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is also a bit of a surprise. Although, he had been recognised as the "best MLA" of Delhi twice, he had lost the 2014 Assembly elections to an AAP candidate. But then, the AAP had swept all but three of the 70 Delhi Assembly seats that year. 

VP Singh Badnore, who belongs to a family of erstwhile royals from Rajasthan, seems to be the easiest choice of all, having little in his past that the Opposition could target the BJP with.