Post-bifurcation: Finally, AP gets a new Governor

Five years after the bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh got its first full-time governor with the appointment of Biswa Bhushan Harichandran. But, the state government is scouting for a suitable place for his official residence. As Amaravati, the new capital, is yet to get a Raj Bhavan, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government is considering a couple of options for a temporary Raj Bhavan in Vijayawada, adjoining Amaravati.
Harichandran, who is a senior BJP leader, will succeed E.S.L. Narasimhan, who has been serving as the combined governor for a decade for the Telugu states. After Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Narasimhan was given charge as the governor of both the states.
Narasimhan has been functioning from Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad. He was visiting Amaravati on special occasions, like swearing-in ceremony of chief ministers, ministers and for hoisting national flag on the Republic Day. During his visits, he stayed at hotels.
A permanent Raj Bhavan is proposed to be built in the government office complex, for which foundation stone was laid in December 2018 by then chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. However, with the YSRCP coming to power after the recent elections and its allegations of corruption in Amaravati projects, construction of the government complex is likely to be delayed.
Even if the work starts now, the construction of Raj Bhavan might take at least a year. The state government is said to be planning to turn former camp office of then chief minister Naidu in Vijayawada into temporary Raj Bhavan. He shifted his base to Amaravati in 2016.
Earlier the Andhra Pradesh High Court was functioning from this building before being shifted to another building in Amaravati. Officials are studying the proposal and some believe the building may be suitable as the governor's office but not as the residence. The government is also studying the proposal of setting up temporary Raj Bhavan in the government guest house in Vijayawada.
In case none of the two buildings are selected, the government may consider taking a sprawling private building on lease for Raj Bhavan. A final decision would be taken in consultation with the new governor, sources said.
The Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, legislature and High Court are already functioning in Amaravati. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy also has his official residence in the state capital. Meanwhile, Jagan Reddy congratulated Harichandran on his appointment as governor and hoped the new governor would cooperate for the overall development of the state.
Leader of opposition Naidu also congratulated Harichandran on his appointment. "As a distinguished leader with immense reputation and integrity, I am sure he will excel in his new role," tweeted Naidu.
So, who is Biswa Bhushan Harichandran?
The 84-year-old Harichandran began his political career as a member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1971 and then became its national executive member. The BJP veteran also held the post of State General Secretary until the formation of the Janata Party in 1977. Thereafter, he joined the BJP and was appointed as Odisha BJP chief from 1980 to 1988.
He switched sides to Biju Patnaik’s Janata Dal which received a thumping majority in the 1990 Odisha assembly elections. He left Janata Dal after its poor performance in 1995 elections and returned to the BJP the next year. He was elected to Odisha Assembly five times, from Bhubaneshwar and Chilika. He also served as a former law minister in BJD-BJP coalition government in Odisha in 2004.

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