After the surprise exit of Girish Chandra Murmu as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday appointed former Union Minister Manoj Sinha in his place to handle the administration of the trouble-torn union territory.
A day after his resignation from the L-G post, Murmu was appointed as CAG by President on Thursday evening till November 21, 2024 as CAG, till age 65. The 1985 batch Gujarat Cadre IAS, hailing from Mayurbhanj in Odisha was Principal Secretary to Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat. Before becoming the L-G, Murmu was Expenditure Secretray. He will take over CAG's post on August 9 after the retirement of current incumbent Rajiv Mehrishi
The appointment of a grass root politician, who enjoys Prime Minister Modi's confidence, is expected to fill the 'political vacuum' in Jammu and Kashmir at this crucial juncture. Due to sustained anti-terrorist operations and elimination of top commanders of different terror outfits, the Centre is aiming to kick start the stalled political process, especially in the Kashmir valley in the coming months.
A large number of mainstream Kashmiri politicians, already released from detention, are growing "restless" in the absence of political activity. They have even accused the Central Government of running its political agenda without allowing them the space to operate and even preventing their movement out of their houses. "Presence of full time politician in the Raj Bhawan is expected to fill the vacuum and bridge the widening gap between the Government machinery and the common masses", said a political commentator.
A section of political observers feel, Murmu, who was a man of a few words, was struggling for a long time to fill the political vacuum especially in Kashmir valley.
These observers claimed, "it is for the same reason centre decided to shunt him midway and brought another seasoned politician to bring back the stalled political process on track".
The newly-appointed Lt-Governor has tasted grassroot politics since his students days. He remained President of the Students Union in the Banaras Hindu University and later represented Parliamentary constituency of Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh thrice in the Lok Sabha. He lost last Lok Sabha polls to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Afzal Ansari. He has also served as minister of communications and minister of state for Railways.
According to the official sources, the oath ceremony of the newly appointed Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha is scheduled to take place in Srinagar on Friday.
Meanwhile, Sinha arrived in Srinagar in the afternoon and was accorded warm welcome and formal guard of honor at the technical airport.
Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, DGP Dilbagh Singh and Principal Secretary to the Lt- Governor Bipul Pathak were present to receive him.
He was later escorted under tight security arrangements to the Raj Bhawan.
Earlier, late Wednesday evening Lt-Gov Girish Chandra Murmu tendered his resignation and the same was accepted by the President early Thursday morning.
Before the arrival of newly appointed Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha, Girish Chandra Murmu , who was camping in Jammu, returned to New Delhi along with his wife and children in a special BSF plane.
In the absence of any other senior officer in Jammu, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Sanjiv Verma bid him farewell at the airport by presenting a bouquet.
Speculations were also rife in the corridors of power over the exact reasons behind Girish Chandra Murmu's sudden exit from Jammu and Kashmir.
It is widely believed both Murmu and Chief Secretary were not on the same page for a long time. This was obviously affecting smooth implementation of the developmental package in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to these observers, Murmu also paid the price for speaking 'out of turn' over certain contentious issues.
In a series of interviews to different media houses, Murmu had openly favored the restoration of 4G network for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. His observations prompted even the center to inform the Supreme Court that it will verify the statement of the Lieutenant Governor.
GC Murmu's assessment over holding fresh Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir had also created ripples in New Delhi.
This time, the Election Commission of India had pulled up Murmu for his statement on the conduct of elections in Jammu and Kashmir saying holding polls is the mandate of the Commission and it was not the domain of the Lieutenant Governor.