Says will work for peace & normalcy
JAMMU, Aug 21: The Central Government today appointed first politician, Satya Pal Malik, as new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir replacing former top bureaucrat, NN Vohra, who had lengthy tenure of 10 years and two months in the sensitive and militancy-infested border State during which Governor’s rule was imposed four times.
No politician had ever been appointed as Governor of J&K, which had seen only civil servants, diplomats, Retired Army Generals, Intelligence chief etc as the Governors during past over five decades.
Click here to watch video
This is being seen as a major shift in strategy of Narendra Modi Government at the Centre. Karan Singh and Jagmohan, who had served as Governors of Jammu and Kashmir, had joined politics after their stint as the Governors and went on to become Union Ministers.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Malik will reach Srinagar tomorrow morning to take oath as the new Governor. However, he will return to Patna on August 23 for a day or so.
Malik, a BJP leader, who had served as Member of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and also MLA in Uttar Pradesh, from where he belonged, had replaced Ram Nath Kovind as Bihar Governor last year after the latter was elected as President of India.
Seventy-two year old Malik’s appointment order was issued today by the President along with appointment of five other Governors.
Speculations were already rife that Vohra could exit the State as Governor after conclusion of annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine on August 26.
Malik will take charge as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir at a time when the State is already under the spell of Governor’s rule since June 20 after BJP suddenly withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government and Governor NN Vohra has ordered holding of crucial elections to Panchayats and Municipalities. Also, terrorism and encounters are on rise and controversy over Article 35-A is at its peak with the Apex Court scheduled to hear the case on August 27.
A communiqué from Rashtrapati Bhawan said the appointment of Malik as new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir will come into effect from the date he assumes charge. He will take charge in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State.
Since militancy erupted in Jammu and Kashmir about three decades ago, the State has generally seen retired bureaucrats, Army and Intelligence officers as the Governors of Jammu and Kashmir. This is, however, for the first time that the BJP Government at the Centre has made a new experiment and appointed a political Governor in the State.
Soon after his appointment as Governor, Malik told a national newspaper that he will make all efforts to restore peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by taking all people along and following Narendra Modi’s policy on Kashmir.
Malik said he has good old relations with all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and expressed confidence that he will receive support from them.
Malik’s predecessors like LK Jha, Gen (Retd) KV Krishna Rao, Girish Chander Saxena, Lt Gen (Retd) SK Sinha and NN Vohra were non political. While Jha, Jagmohan and Vohra were retired bureaucrats, Saxena was chief of RAW. Krishna Rao and SK Sinha were top Army officers.
Malik initially was associated with the ideology of Samajwad and Lok Dal. At one time, he was close associate of former Prime Minister Choudhary Charan Singh and had been to jail during Emergency but later joined Congress. He also remained in Samajwadi Party and Ajit Singh’s Lok Dal before joining the BJP.
In Uttar Pradesh, Malik had served as State vice president of BJP and president of Kissan Cell before being elevated as national vice president of the party.
When VP Singh revolted against Rajiv Gandhi, Satya Pal Malik was among top leaders like Arun Nehru, Arif Mohammad Khan and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who had quit the Congress. He had been close to Mufti Sayeed since then. Both Mufti and Malik were Ministers in VP Singh Government. He has also good connections with some Congress leaders as he had been part of that party.
Vohra had been serving as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir since June 2008. He had been appointed as the Governor during UPA-I Government. In June 2013 when his five year term was scheduled to end, he was granted extension for another term of five years. In 2014 when the BJP Government replaced UPA at the Centre and changed Governors of many States, it decided to continue with Vohra in J&K.
Significantly, during 10 years and about two months of Vohra as Governor, Jammu and Kashmir came under the spell of Governor’s rule four times-first in July 2008 when PDP withdrew support to Ghulam Nabi Azad Government-second after 2014 Assembly elections threw hung verdict, third after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7, 2016 and fourth when BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Government on June 19 this year.
Malik was the member of 9th Lok Sabha and represented Aligarh constituency. He was also member of Rajya Sabha for two terms. He first became the MLA of Charan Singh’s Bharatiya Kranti Dal from Bhagpat in Uttar Pradesh in 1974. In 2004, Malik joined the BJP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in UP, losing to Charan Singh’s son, Ajit Singh. Malik had served as the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Tourism and held many important posts at the Centre and Uttar Pradesh Government.
Meanwhile, Lal Ji Tandon has been appointed as the Governor of Bihar, in place of Malik, while Satyadev Narayan Arya and Baby Rani Maurya will hold the gubernatorial posts in Haryana and Uttarakhand respectively, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman.
Eighty-three-year-old Tandon, BJP stalwart and a confidant of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was a key negotiator when the BJP formed Government with Mayawati.
BJP leader from Agra and member of Uttar Pradesh Juvenile Justice Board Baby Rani Maurya has been appointed as the Governor of Uttarakhand, where former Delhi Police Commissioner K K Paul completed his tenure.
Arya, an eight-term MLA in Bihar, was also a Minister in the 2010 BJP-JDU Government in the State. He has been appointed as new Haryana Governor.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki was transferred to Tripura, replacing Tathagata Roy who has been transferred to Meghalaya, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
Ganga Prasad, the Governor of Meghalaya, has been transferred to Sikkim, it said.
Chronology of Governors
Karan Singh 30 Mar 1965 15 March 1967
J N Wazir 15 March 1967 15 May 1967
Bhagwan Sahay 15 May 1967 3 July 1973
Lakshmi Kant Jha 3 July 1973 22 Feb 1981
Braj Kumar Nehru 22 Feb 1981 26 Apr 1984
Justice V Khalid For 12 days only
Jagmohan 26 Apr 1984 July 1989
K V Krishna Rao July 1989 19 Jan 1990
Jagmohan 19 Jan 1990 26 May 1990
Girish Chandra Saxena 26 May 1990 12 March 1993
K. V. Krishna Rao 12 March 1993 2 May 1998
Girish Chandra Saxena 2 May 1998 4 June 2003
S.K. Sinha 4 June 2003 25 June 2008
Narinder Nath Vohra 25 June 2008 incumbent