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For NN Vohra, fourth time’s the toughest as governor’s rule returns to Jammu and Kashmir

NN Vohra, a veteran civil servant who has held different posts in Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre, was appointed the state’s 12th governor in 2008.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2018 17:24 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
NN Vohra,Jammu and Kashmir,BJP PDP split
Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra with then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu in February 2017. Mufti quit as CM on Tuesday after the BJP pulled out of the alliance government. (PTI)

Governor Narendra Nath Vohra will administer Jammu and Kashmir for the fourth time after the state came under central rule, but the emergence of local militancy make his latest “assignment” complicated than ever.

In the past two years, this is the second time that the state will come under Governor’s rule with Vohra at the helm. “In past three-four years, Kashmir has changed a lot. It will need special efforts to calm tempers. The space for mainstream parties have shrunk and local boys have joined militancy,” said a mainstream political leader who knows Vohra closely.

“Now it remains to be seen how south Kashmir will behave. And if something happens like killing of civilians or any big incident happens, Governor Vohra and the Centre will also [sic] be responsible,” said the politician, commenting about a region where militant violence has increased.

Leaders of mainstream political parties have faith in Vohra and almost every top leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bharatiya Janata Party, National Conference and the Congress enjoy close ties with him. “This is the fourth time Vohra is taking over affairs of the state. And this time it’s the most difficult assignment. Let us see how he uses his cards on the political and governance front,” said the editor of a Srinagar-based newspaper.

Also read: Centre to scale up operations against Kashmir militants as Governor’s rule imposed

Vohra, a veteran civil servant who has held different posts in Jammu and Kashmir and the centre, was appointed the state’s 12th governor in 2008. Ghulam Nabi Azad, who headed an alliance government, resigned as chief minister after the PDP withdrew support in July 2008 in the backdrop of the Amarnath land controversy. The state came under central rule and Vohra replaced SK Sinha as governor.

The state was under Governor’s rule from July 11, 2008 to January 5, 2009, when the National Conference and the Congress formed a government with NC leader Omar Abdullah as chief minister. Assembly elections in 2014 threw up a hung assembly and it took more three months before a government could be set up. Vohra again looked after the state’s affairs in this period.

The United Progressive Alliance 1 government had given Vohra a five-year extension in 2013.

Vohra, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, was appointed Punjab’s home secretary when the state was passing through a turbulent phase after the Operation Bluestar, the military operation to remove Sikh militants from Amritsar’s Golden Temple. He played an important role in holding elections to the Punjab assembly in 1985.

After serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993, Vohra was appointed Union Home Secretary (1993-94). In 2004, he acted as the special representative of the Centre for dialogue in Kashmir.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 17:20 IST