New Guv for dialogue at all levels, ready to shun protocol for talks

Governor Satya Pal Malik in a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Governor Satya Pal Malik in a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday.

‘Will go & meet those who are uncomfortable to come to me’

Malik calls on Rajnath, discusses polls

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Aug 28: In a significant announcement ahead of formally taking over the reign of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, newly appointed first political Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik has stressed the need for dialogue at all levels in the State and even went on to say that if anyone feels uncomfortable to come to him, he was ready to go and meet them without bothering for the protocol.
In an interview to a national newspaper, Malik also said that he might be a politician appointed as the Governor but he will not be in Jammu and Kashmir for any kind of politicking.
Malik, who met President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during last two days in New Delhi, told the newspaper that he will be inviting leaders of all political parties to meet him.
However, he added, if anyone feels uncomfortable to come to meet him, he will go to them.
“Protocol will not stop me (in meeting the people),” he added.
Malik didn’t comment on whether these political leaders would include leaders of the Hurriyat Conference.
“The dialogue at the level of the people is the most fundamental thing. It forms the basic foundation of any further dialogue including high level political dialogue,” Malik said.
He said his brief was to “reach out to the people of the State, listen to them and do whatever is necessary for them.”
Malik said he has issued instructions that the District Collectors should earmark at least one day in the week for public hearings. He has also asked the Advisors to do the same.
“Prime Minister Modi is very clear that incomplete projects in the State have to be monitored and completed fast, and very basic issues like the working of public utilities [should] be fixed. Corruption in appointments and administration has to be acted upon,” he said.
“There has to be a repair in the trust between the people of the State and the administration,” he added.
Today morning, Malik met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi and is believed to have discussed about the forthcoming election to local bodies in the State. This was his first meeting with Rajnath after being appointed as the Governor. Yesterday, he had called on President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During the half-an-hour meeting, Singh and Malik also discussed about the prevailing law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under the Governor’s rule since June 20 after the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government in the State.
They discussed about the forthcoming Panchayat and Municipal polls, which were scheduled to be held in the State between September and December.
Meanwhile, in an interview to a news agency, Malik said bridging the gap between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India and engaging with alienated youths tops his agenda. He said politics will take a back seat during his tenure and reaching out to common people will have the topmost priority.
“The Governor’s House will be people’s house,” Malik said.
Asked about his reaction after receiving the call about his transfer to the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “It’s a job. I know it’s a challenging job but every challenge throws a new opportunity. I am sure that I will be able to fulfill the goal of turning it into a prosperous State.”
The Governor said he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after taking oath. “We have a Prime Minister who is very Kashmir friendly and has the best understanding about Kashmir and he has advised me to reach out to the people as much as I can.”
Asked whether holding of local body elections including Panchayat polls figured in the list of priorities, he said, “It does definitely. After all empowering local bodies is essential for people. I will ensure that there is a free flow of funds to the elected representatives as this way we will ensure that fruits of development reach the grassroots.”
On a question about many local youths joining terror groups, Malik said, “I know it’s a problem. I have a blueprint in my mind and I will definitely ensure that the misguided youths are engaged with and brought back into family life.”
However, he did not elaborate on it.
Malik, a politician from Uttar Pradesh who served as the Governor of Bihar before his current assignment, said his focus would also be on ensuring better sports facilities in the State.
“The youth of the State are quite talented and all we require is to tap their potential. I want to see more and more youths from the State qualifying in higher education and all India services.”
The Governor, who has made courtesy calls on President Ram Nath Kovind, the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will be leaving for the Kashmir valley tomorrow and plans to hold meetings with officials and Advisors besides top officials of the Army, para-military and police.
“After that, I will be travelling across the length and breadth of the State and meeting civil society,” he said.
Mentioning the commendable role played by Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Governor said, “I will be addressing the difficulties faced by the police on a war footing. I met the Home Minister and requested for providing accommodation to them. He has agreed and we will work out the plan soon.”
The Governor said the State police has played a wonderful role in countering militancy. “They have been the prime targets of terrorists. They have been able to break the backbone of militancy and we owe it to them.”-