J&K: L-G Murmu resigns; BJP's Manoj Sinha given top post
On Wednesday, exactly one year after the contentious Article 370 was abrogated, GC Murmu, who took oath as the Lieutenant-Governor of Jammu & Kashmir on October 31, 2019, resigned, paving the path for the appointment of former Union Minister Manoj Sinha. A senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Sinha said he has been given a "huge responsibility." Here are more details.
Looking back at what happened on August 5, 2019
Last year, BJP fulfilled its long-standing promise of repealing Article 370, which granted special status to J&K and allowed residents to live under a separate set of laws pertaining to citizenship. The northernmost state was also split into two Union Territories — J&K became a UT with legislative assembly and Ladakh without one. In October, Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer became J&K's first L-G.
Surprisingly, Murmu resigned yesterday. Soon, Sinha's appointment was confirmed
Last evening, Murmu abruptly submitted his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind. Later, the President's office confirmed that his decision has been accepted. "The President has been pleased to appoint Shri Manoj Sinha to be the Lieutenant-Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office vice Shri Girish Chandra Murmu (sic)," President Kovind's office said.
Notably, Murmu is the front-runner for another enviable post
Now that Murmu is no longer J&K's L-G, he could be appointed as Comptroller and Auditor General, a position currently held by Rajiv Mehrishi. "Rajiv Mehrishi is turning 65 on August 8. That is why the government is in a hurry to look for a replacement," a person in the know told NDTV. Murmu is likely to reach Delhi soon.
Apparently, Murmu's poor bond with Chief Secretary drove his step
Interestingly, there's more to Murmu's big step than what meets the eye. Sources close to him told IE that he was "concerned with the lack of accountability among civil servants and bringing public servants under pressure to get work done." He also had differences with Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam that led to administrative problems. Murmu's opinion about polls in J&K also miffed many.
When Murmu suggested polls, EC took offense
In an interview last week, Murmu had claimed President's Rule can't be imposed in J&K "indefinitely," and that "elections would not be very far." Taking objection to these comments, the Election Commission said that it will decide on the timing of the polls.
With Sinha's appointment, is politics being revived in J&K?
Notably, Murmu's successor Sinha will be visiting Kashmir today itself. The appointment of a politician, instead of a bureaucrat indicates that the politics in being revived in J&K. Sinha was reportedly chosen because of his experience in administrative matters and his proximity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During PM Modi's first term, Sinha, a native of UP, handled key ministries like telecom.
Reacting on development, Omar said government sprung a surprise
Congratulating Sinha, Union Minister Jitendra Singh tweeted, "He carries with him a rich combination of both political as well as administrative experience." Separately, Omar Abdullah, former CM of the erstwhile state, said a couple of names, barring Sinha's, had been doing rounds. "You can always trust this government to pull an unexpected name out of the hat," the NC leader said.