Kamla Beniwal sacked: Why Congress crying wolf is not at all justified

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Kamla Beniwal
Congress and other opposition parties are crying foul over Centre's sacking of Mizoram governor Kamla Beniwal and accused the Narendra Modi Government of indulging into vendetta politics. The opposition leaders are also calling it a violation of Constitution and Supreme Court's ruling. This is seen as nothing but an attempt by the Congress and opposition leaders for unnecessarily politicising the issue.

Since, the government has already cleared that Beniwal has been sacked by the President after it was revealed that she had misused the governor's office (in Gujarat) to make several unauthorized air travels at state government's expense.

Denying any politics behind the move, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu clearly stated, "Action was taken within rules, as per Constitution. There are serious allegations. The government has taken serious note of her conduct."

Beniwal's love for air travel

Kamla Beniwal, who was Gujarat's governor, is accused of taking undue advantage of the government aircraft, accorded to her, by making extensive air travels during her tenure.

As per a report published in India Today, in 2011-12, Beniwal spent 83 hours in flying, in 2012-13, 91 hours of flying and in 2013-14, 102 of flying. In her three-year tenure as Gujarat governor, she went outside Gujarat 63 times. Most of her air trips are reported to be towards her home state Rajasthan and she used to travel Jaipur in Government Beechcraft. She visited Jaipur 53 times and Delhi 10 times, the report said.

Surprisingly, she stated that all her visits were 'official' so that she could avail the government-provided facilities without any expanses.

As per another report published in India Today, the 87-year-old Congress leader's last use of the Beechcraft Super King 200, on which she had clocked 277 flying hours as Gujarat governor, came about in an interesting way.

Beniwal had clocked 277 flying hours as Gujarat governor

After her transfer to Mizoram, Beniwal expressed her desire to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel for one last use of the plane to fly her to Aizawl. To which the Gujarat CM refused. Beniwal then requested Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva, who was to replace her in the Gujarat Raj Bhavan, and requested her to be allowed to fly to Mizoram in the Gujarat state plane. The state government reluctantly agreed to it as a farewell gesture. Hence, there is no doubt in saying that this trip too was not an ‘official' visit.

This reveals how much the former Gujarat governor loved travelling in her favourite Beechcraft Super King 200, at state's expense.

Other corruption charges against Beniwal

Beniwal has been mired in several corruption allegations in her home state of Rajasthan.

Earlier in 2012, a lower court in Jaipur had ordered a police inquiry into allegations of land grab by 18 people, among them was Beniwal, a veteran Congress politician. BJP member Kirit Somaiya had referred it to as, a "1,000-crore land scam".

Reports also alleged that during her tenure as Revenue Minister in the Rajasthan Government, Beniwal was involved in a "books scam" and a "land scam".

Why Centre can't be blamed for playing vendetta politics

As Gujarat governor, the 87-year-old was also accused of delaying legislation passed in the Gujarat assembly. Beniwal had challenged the Narendra Modi's Gujarat government on the appointment of a Lokayukta. Giving reference of the tussle between Beniwal and Narendra Modi the opposition parties are terming it as vendetta politics. But, the grounds on which Beniwal has been sacked are much serious and no laws have been violated for the same.

The Narendra Modi Government has from very beginning stated that it is not going to tolerate corrupt practices of any type. In fact it was the Congress-led UPA Government which ignored the serious allegations of corruption levelled against Beniwal and elevated her as Gujarat's governor. The UPA Government without even considering for a probe appointed the Congress loyalist to such an important post. Where was the UPA Government's morality then?

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