Goa governor Satya Pal Malik transferred to Meghalaya
Satya Pal Malik was appointed as Goa governor in October 2019. He earlier served as the governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir reorganisation. Malik was at the helm when Jammu & Kashmir was divested of its special status in August 2019 and split into two union territories.Updated: Aug 18, 2020, 15:59 IST
Panaji/New Delhi: Goa governor Satya Pal Malik was on Tuesday transferred to Meghalaya less than a year after he was shifted to the western state after helming Jammu & Kashmir when it was divested of its special status and split into two Union territories last year. Differences of opinion with Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant marked Malik’s tenure in the state.
In a statement, the Press Information Bureau confirmed Malik’s transfer. It said Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who is the governor of neighbouring Maharashtra, has been given the additional charge of Goa.
Tathagata Roy, Malik’s predecessor in Meghalaya, said he was supposed to be relieved after the end of his tenure in May. “Upon receipt of news from Rashtrapati Bhavan [about the transfer], I spoke to Shri Satyapal Malikji, the new Governor-Designate and welcomed him to Shillong [Meghalaya]. It may take him a little time to come here. I was supposed to have been relieved on 20th May. Now the end of the road is in sight!” tweeted Roy.
Malik and Sawant have been in the news over their disagreements. In July, Malik, 74, summoned Sawant to discuss the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. When Sawant sought to downplay the meeting, Malik accused the chief minister of putting words in his mouth. Malik has underlined the need for coming together and not criticising each other. He called for synergy among the ministers and officers amid the crisis.
Malik wrote a letter to Sawant on August 1 opposing the construction of a new Raj Bhavan (governor’s house) “as irrational and imprudent” when the state is battling Covid-19 and reeling under financial crises. The letter followed Sawant’s move to go ahead with the construction. In May, Malik said news reports on “differences and divergences between him and the chief minister in handling the crisis” were “in bad taste”
Malik’s criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government gave opposition parties in the state a much-needed fillip and a handle to attack it.
“Governor of Goa Satya Pal Malikji stood by truth, emotions & sentiments of every Goan on core issues like Mhadei, Economic Revival & Austerity Measures, Handling & Management of Covid Pandemic. Truth and @BJP4Goa cant go together. Goa needed him the most now,” opposition leader Digambar Kamat tweeted after news about Malik’s transfer broke.
Vijai Sardesai, the leader of Goa Forward Party, echoed Kamat. “Who will want a Governor who speaks truth on Mhadei, Goa’s precarious Covid situation, need to prevent wasteful expenditure & not to do scams during pandemic & call out Goa CM [Sawant] for being uncultured? So Satyapal Malik who captured Goan hearts in his short tenure was expected to get transferred due to party pressure!”
Malik was sworn in as Goa governor on November 4 last year in what was thought to be a more relaxed posting following his tenure in Jammu & Kashmir. He oversaw the transition of Jammu & Kashmir from a state to the Union Territory as its last governor.
During his tenure in Jammu & Kashmir, Malik triggered a controversy when he claimed he had not received a letter from political parties staking claim to form the government in the then state after the BJP-People’s Democratic Party coalition collapsed in June 2018. He later said the fax machine in Raj Bhavan was not working.
Malik, who began his political career in 1965, was first elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Lok Dal member in 1980. He was again elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress candidate in 1986. Malik joined the BJP and was elected as a Lok Sabha member in 2005.