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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 13:21 GMT
Bihar governor offers resignation
Buta Singh
Mr Singh 'misled the government' (Pic: Prashant Ravi)
The governor of the Indian state of Bihar, Buta Singh, has offered to resign his post.

The move comes two days after the Supreme Court heavily criticised him for dissolving the Bihar state assembly last year.

The court said that Mr Singh had acted in haste and misled the federal cabinet with a report which lacked substance.

India's Congress-led government took direct control of Bihar in May after elections produced a hung assembly.

The move angered the opposition BJP, which said it had not been given enough time to form a majority government.

Injustice has been meted out to me
Buta Singh
Fresh elections in the state in November saw an alliance of the Janata Dal (United) and the BJP oust key Congress ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), from power after 15 years.

Mr Singh told reporters that he had faxed his resignation to President APJ Kalam, hours after taking the salute at the Republic Day parade in Bihar's capital, Patna.

He said he would move the Supreme Court to explain the circumstances under which he recommended dissolution of Bihar assembly.

"Injustice has been meted out to me. Out of sheer respect for the Supreme Court, I have resigned," he told reporters.

Colonial legacy

Correspondents say that Mr Singh's departure was imminent after Tuesday's court ruling which severely embarrassed the ruling Congress party.

The 71-year-old Mr Singh, a former federal interior minister and a senior Congress party member, had been chosen by his party for the governor's position.

The ruling also came as an opportunity for the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to attack the ruling party and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court also said the practice of appointing politicians as governors should end. In October it had declared the dissolution of the assembly unconstitutional.

In India, governors are appointed to office in states for a five-year term by the president on the advice of the prime minister, and their conduct is supposed to be, in principle, above politics.

The BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi says India has a colonial legacy of partisan governors who have frequently acted as agents of the ruling party in Delhi.

Then there is the problem of the informal convention of appointing former, out-of-work politicians as governors.

During the 1970s and 1980s, governors appointed by the ruling Congress party had a hand in dismissing a number of governments.

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