Remarks over 4G restoration, Assembly polls in J&K by Girish Chandra Murmu not welcomed by the Centre
In a fast-paced development, Lt-Governor Girish Chandra Murmu, Wednesday night tendered his resignation from the post. President of India Ram Nath Kovind early Thursday morning accepted his resignation and appointed Manoj Sinha, a former junior minister in the Narendra Modi led council of ministers as the new Lt-Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
As per the grapevine, Murmu is set to take over the charge of Comptroller and Auditor General of India as sitting CAG Rajiv Mehrishi, former Home Secretary is due to retire next week. Murmu’s resignation came on a day when people across Jammu and Kashmir celebrated the first anniversary of Abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
In a series of interviews to different media houses, Murmu had expressed his desire to restore 4G services in J&K.
On the last working day in office, Murmu met top army commander of the Udhampur Based Northern Command headquarters Lt Gen YK Joshi in Srinagar and later he arrived in Jammu where he interacted with media persons and gave interviews.
On his arrival in Jammu, speculations were rife over his possible resignation late in the evening. His personal belongings were packed and kept ready. He is scheduled to fly to New Delhi on Thursday with his family. Murmu could not complete even one year in office. He took charge as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir after the formation of the new Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 on 31 October 2019.
Why was Murmu shunted midway?
For a long time, Lt-Governor Girish Chandra Murmu was facing a lot of heat at work. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam were not on the same page with him and due to constant friction between the two, the bureaucracy too was divided into two different camps affecting the implementation of various flagship developmental projects. The difference of opinion and assessment made by the Lt- Governor on certain crucial matters also led to Murmu’s early exit. In a series of interviews to different media houses, Murmu had expressed his desire to restore 4G services in J&K.
His frank opinion raised many eyebrows even in New Delhi forcing the Government of India to inform the Supreme Court that it will verify the statement of the Lieutenant Governor. While this episode was still not over, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir decided to further extend the 2G services till further orders. This came as a virtual snub to the office of Lt-Governor and created bad blood between the two senior IAS officers.
In the last one year, the office of Lt-Governor Girish Chandra Murmu kept pace with the developmental works but lacked in filling the political vacuum.
On its part, various security agencies had also recommended against the restoration of 4G Services in the Union Territory, which was stopped on August 4 last year on the eve of the scrapping of the special status of J&K.
Girish Chandra 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.
Centre keen to fill the political vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir
In the last one year, the office of Lt-Governor Girish Chandra Murmu kept pace with the developmental works but lacked in filling the political vacuum. After the release of senior political leaders, who were detained since last year, the centre wanted to respond to their sponsored propaganda.
But Girish Chandra Murmu, who is a man of few words, was not fitting the bill. He came across as a reserved person and spoke less as compared to political appointees in the Raj Bhawan. In the light of these developments, the centre may have taken the call to shift him and replace him with a seasoned politician Manoj Sinha.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.