New Delhi: The government has finalised the list of governors for seven states with National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan being named for West Bengal and former Union home minister Shivraj Patil for Punjab, government sources said.
The Congress core committee, headed by party president Sonia Gandhi, has decided to appoint Narayanan, 76, as governor in the Left-ruled state that has witnessed increasing Maoist violence in the past two years.
Narayanan has been holding the prime post in the country's security apparatus since January 2005.
"A formal announcement is expected any day. The names will be forwarded by the Home Ministry to Rashtrapathi Bhavan," said a ministry official.
Shivraj Patil, who was forced to quit as home minister in the wake of widespread criticism for his handling of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, was finally rewarded with a governor's post for his past services to the party. His appointment also signals an end to his role in active politics.
A former Lok Sabha Speaker, Patil is considered close to Sonia Gandhi.
Former defence secretary Shekhar Dutt, who was also the deputy NSA, will be appointed governor of Chhattisgarh replacing E S L Narasimhan who will move to Andhra Pradesh. Narasimhan held additional charge of Andhra Pradesh after the exit of Narayan Dutt Tiwari last month.
Party sources pointed out that senior Congress leader Mohsina Kidwai will be the new governor of Jharkhand while K Sankaranarayan is being shifted to Maharashtra. Himachal Pradesh Governor Prabha Rau is being moved to Rajasthan and former union minister Urmilaben Patel will be the new incumbent in Shimla.
Narayanan's new position throws open the race for the next NSA and former foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon was emerging as the consensus candidate.