Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Banwarilal Purohit has resigned just a day after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi, citing “personal reasons.” In his resignation letter addressed to President Droupadi Murmu, Purohit stated, “Due to my personal reasons and certain other commitments, I tender my resignation from the post of the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh. Please accept the same and oblige.”
Purohit, who assumed office in August 2021, stepped down in the aftermath of the Chandigarh mayoral polls, where the AAP alleged rigging and subsequently moved to the Supreme Court. Despite the AAP’s accusations, the BJP secured victory in all three posts in the polls.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had recently appointed Rajeev Verma as the Union Territory Adviser earlier this week.
A three-time MP from Nagpur, Purohit, who has served with both the Congress and the BJP, held prior positions as the Governor of Tamil Nadu and Assam.
During his tenure in Punjab, Purohit frequently clashed with the AAP government led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. The Governor, early in the AAP government’s term, sought clarifications on various matters through letters to Mann, even suggesting President’s Rule and criminal proceedings if unanswered.
Mann, on the other hand, accused Purohit of delaying assent to crucial Bills and approached the Supreme Court. In November the previous year, the Supreme Court criticized the Governor on the matter.
Despite the conflicts, on Republic Day, Mann attended the ‘At Home’ function at Raj Bhavan, where he touched Purohit’s feet before shaking hands with him, signaling a thaw in relations.
Among the issues raised by Purohit in his earlier letters to Mann were drug abuse, illegal mining, law and order concerns, teacher selection criteria for training in Singapore, rising debt by the AAP government, and the appointment of Dr. S S Gosal as the Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana.
After Purohit termed Gosal’s appointment as “illegal,” the AAP government introduced The Punjab Universities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, to remove him as ex-officio Chancellor of universities in the state. The Bill, along with two others, The Sikh Gurudwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, and The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023, were sent to the President for consideration by Purohit. Punjab BJP president Sunil Jakhar confirmed Purohit’s resignation, acknowledging the significance of the issues he raised.