It would seem ESL Narasimhan was in the know of his imminent departure as Governor of Telangana. At a felicitation function organised for PV Sindhu on 28 August, Narasimhan alluded to it when he said, “Let me assure you that Sindhu will come to this Raj Bhavan with the gold medal after the Olympics. I may be there, I may not be there but Raj Bhavan will definitely felicitate her.”
Incidentally, the reception that the Governor organised for Sindhu was the first function organised after the Raj Bhavan ceased to have dual charge of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“This is the first function we are holding as Telangana Raj Bhavan,” said Narasimhan.
It is interesting that Narasimhan’s innings as the Governor of only Telangana began with badminton and ended with badminton. Two days later, he felicitated Sai Praneeth, the bronze medal winner at the World Badminton championship.
But beyond the ceremonial, Narasimhan’s innings would be remembered for having presided over Raj Bhavan when history was created in 2014 with the creation of Telangana state. He took charge in Hyderabad after ND Tiwari quit under a cloud in 2009. He witnessed the upheaval of the Telangana agitation first hand and was the UPA’s ear to the ground during the crisis that gripped the Congress that time. Having Narasimhan as Governor was a huge advantage as he knew Andhra Pradesh pretty well. He is a former IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre but having spent many years in service working in the Intelligence Bureau, he also knew how to look at the developments taking place from another perspective.
Despite completely a five-year term and the change of guard in New Delhi, Narasimhan was not replaced. Many attributed it to his rapport with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, with who he had worked in the IB. Narasimhan stayed on to supervise the bifurcation process which hit a hurdle as KCR and Chandrababu Naidu failed to get along. It was only two months back after Jaganmohan Reddy’s ascent to power in Andhra Pradesh that many of the pending issues could be settled amicably.
Narasimhan’s exit would sadden chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao with who he had a comfortable working relationship. So much so that opposition parties like the Congress often accused him of siding with him. Like KCR, Narasimhan too has a penchant for extreme religosity and is a regular pilgrim to several temples.
If there is one area where Narasimhan can be faulted is that he looked the other way when the anti-defection law was defied with impunity by the ruling parties in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Despite being a stickler for rules, he swore in defectors as ministers in both KCR and Naidu’s cabinets instead of asking them not to violate the spirit of the Constitution.