Hyderabad: A series of eerie parallels between the Governorship of Kumudben Joshi, who led by strong political convictions took the-then chief minister N.T. Rama Rao head-on, leading to a series of confrontations between the first citizen and head of government, and the early steps of current Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has everyone analysing politics of the region asking themselves — is Ms Soundararajan walking on the footsteps of Kumudben Joshi?
E.S.L. Narasimhan, one of the longest serving governors in India, had extremely good terms with Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. In fact, so friendly were the former governor and Mr Rao that it led Telangana BJP leaders to object to Mr Narasimhan’s decisions and statements, and pushed them to demand that the Centre replace him.
Like Kumudben Joshi, who was an active politician when she was appoi-nted as governor of the united Andhra Pradesh, Tamilisai Soundararajan too was an active politician, serving as state president of Tamil Nadu BJP, when she was appointed as Governor of Telangana.
In fact, it was almost immediately after the appointment of Ms Soun-dararajan that political circles first recollected Ms Joshi in a long while, wondering if an encore would be witnessed in Hyderabad circa 2019.
N.T. Rama Rao, founder of the Telugu Desam, was chief minister in 1985 when the-then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi selected and appointed Joshi to create hurdles for NTR, hoping that would be enough to bring the Congress back to power in the state.
Not far from current scenario, when, at a time when BJP is making a serious bid to unseat the TRS in Telangana by the next Assembly elections, Ms Soundararajan was appointed the Governor. Interestingly, Ms Joshi succeeded in her task assigned by her Congress party high command.
Akin to Joshi, who would hold review meetings, summoning IAS and other officers, and would have direct interactions with them, Governor Soundararajan too has started along the path, and recently held review meetings with education and tribal welfare departments.
During the Kumudben Joshi era, several Congress leaders would call on her at the Raj Bhavan on a regular basis. There were allegations that the Raj Bhavan had become a Congress party office. As parallels go, the Telangana BJP leaders have increased their visits to the Raj Bhavan, in contrast to their rendezvous at the Raj Bhavan during Governor Narasimhan’s tenure.
During her gubernatorial tenure that ran from November 26, 1985 to February 7, 1990, Ms Joshi created many problems for Rama Rao. Governor Joshi travelled to all 23 districts in Andhra Pradesh state on a record 108 occasions, without informing the Chief Minister’s office.
Now, making a Kane and Abel saga of similarities between them, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has recently announced that she would soon visit all districts in Telagnana state, and perhaps, might do so without sharing the details with Chief Minister (KCR) Rao’s office.
The differences between NTR and Ms Joshi reached to such heights and came out so openly, that once when she decided to visit Srikakulam district, NTR asked his party leaders, ministers and officials to stay away from all her functions there.
Ms Joshi almost ran a parallel government from the Raj Bhavan. Like TD leaders in the past, now TRS leaders are not happy with the outreach and ambitious initiatives of the Governor. This came out beyond inner party discussions into the open, even though no one is yet ready to speak openly, after the Governor spoke with the transport minister and has various officials, including the commissioner and principal secretary of transport, and roads and building departments, to Raj Bhavan to discuss the ongoing RTC strike.
In the coming days, the Governor is expected to become more accessible to BJP leaders.
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