"People of Gujarat have given me so much love in the last five years. The people here are adventurous, generous and large-hearted. Gujarat is also the land of legends such as Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and has also inspired Swami Vivekanand." These were the words of Nawal Kishore Sharma, the outgoing Governor of Gujarat, who got emotional while speaking about the state during a function organised to bid him farewell.
Looking back at his experiences, Sharma said, "The governor's role is not only to protect the constitution but also to act as the guardian of the state. I have tried to live up to the latter role. I have never said anything about this before, but let me say this now. When the state was on the boil on Narmada issue, I wrote to the prime minister, water resources minister and Mira Kumar who was looking after the issue. I got positive response from all of them."
He went on, "I also wanted to set up a Sanskrit university in the state. I asked education minister Anandiben Patel about this at a function and literally forced her to make an announcement. Within a year, the university become functional.''
Sharma praised Chief Minister Narendra Modi and said he was 'full of energy'. He carefully avoided any direct reference to the 2002 riots, but said, "As in the life of an individual, a state too witnesses so many events. However, Gujarat has overall been a very peaceful state."
"Usually, very few governor have tension-free tenures but I have really been fortunate to have such a peaceful, trouble-free tenure,'' he added.
About his relation with the chief minister, he said, "After I came to Gujarat as governor, soon there were several rumours about the relation between the CM and me. But, the fact is that our relations have always been what it should be between a governor and a chief minister."
Modi too got emotional during his farewell speech. "He (the governor) taught me the beauty of the democracy and, in a way, he indirectly guided me to run the state like a father guides a son. I'll always remain his disciple. Panditji will retire from his post but will always remain a father figure for me," said the chief minister.