Advani's Aide, Never Lost a Poll: Ramesh Bais' Journey from Raipur to Raj Bhawan

Ramesh Bais has replaced Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the new Maharashtra governor.

3 min read

Seven time-MP, minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet, confidante of Lal Krishna Advani — a party stalwart who has never lost an election, new Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais has an illustrious political career with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spanning over five decades.

Bais, who had a controversial tenure as the governor of Jharkhand, has replaced Koshyari in Maharashtra who also had a tenure marred by controversies during the tenure of both Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and Eknath Shinde-BJP governments.

From Raipur municipal body councillor to now the link between the Maharashtra state government and the Centre, a look at Bais' career.


Illustrious Political Career

Bais first tasted electoral success at the age of 31 after becoming a councillor with the Raipur civic body, before Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

He was elected as an MLA in 1980 from Raipur, but lost the seat to Congress rival Satyanarayan Sharma in 1985.

Bais was then elected as the Lok Sabha MP from Raipur in the 1989 general elections and retained the seat in the polls that were held in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014.

Between 1998 and 2004, Bais held several portfolios as a union minister in Vajpayee's cabinet.

Ramesh Bais has replaced Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the new Maharashtra governor.

Ramesh Bais at the Republic Day celebrations in Ranchi on 26 January, 2023.

(Photo: Twitter/Governor of Jharkhand)

Tensions grew internally within the BJP during the 2019 polls in Chhattisgarh when he was denied a ticket by the BJP despite his undefeated streak and Sunil Kumar Soni was chosen instead.

He was appointed the governor of Tripura soon after the polls and was subsequently appointed as the Governor of Jharkhand in 2021, which turned out to be the most controversial stint of his political career.

The Controversial Tenure in Jharkhand

Bais held the Jharkhand governor's post while the state was being led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) Hemant Soren as the chief minister in coalition with the Congress.

Soren came under fire on the grounds of holding an 'office of profit', for allotting a mining lease to his own family while he headed the department.

In August 2022, the Election Commission of India (EC) officially sent a recommended Bais to disqualify Soren as an MLA for allegedly allotting a mining license to the firm he owned.

Ramesh Bais has replaced Bhagat Singh Koshyari as the new Maharashtra governor.

File photo of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and governor Ramesh Bais from an event.

(Photo: PTI)

Bais, however, never made the recommendations public, leading to the JMM and the Congress alleging that he did so to create instability in the ruling coalition and buy time for the BJP to poach MLAs from these parties in order to dislodge the state government.

Bais, however, maintained that if he wanted to topple the government, he could have done so by disqualifying Soren.

Bais left the matter hanging, while the Soren government undertook a floor test in September and won. In October 2022, Bais said that he had sought a "second opinion" from the EC over the matter since he didn't want anybody "pointing fingers" at him.

After Soren sought a copy of the letter by Bais to EC over the second opinion, the EC reportedly informed him that no such request for a 'second opinion' was received by the poll body from Bais.


While the new appointment evoked responses from across political quarters, with state leaders welcoming Bais, the Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders also too the opportunity to take jibes at Koshyari, who had eventually proved to be an embarrassment for the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government over his controversial comments on Chhatrapati Shivaji.

The state leaders have expressed hope that the new governor will "act constitutionally" while upholding the legacy of the state and the office of the Governor of Maharashtra.

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