On first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir witnesses sudden exit of GC Murmu

Updated on Aug 06, 2020 11:25 AM IST
Lieutenant Governors of union territories, quite like governors of states, are appointed for a five-year term.
Girish Chandra Murmu resigned as Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor on Wednesday.(HT File Photo)
Girish Chandra Murmu resigned as Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor on Wednesday.(HT File Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRavi Krishnan Khajuria | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

With sudden exit of Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu in a late night development on Wednesday, President Ramnath Kovind has appointed former Union minister and three-time BJP MP Manoj Sinha as the new incumbent to the constitutional post.

Sinha is considered to have a close rapport with National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.

“The President has accepted the resignation of Girish Chandra Murmu as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir,” said an official spokesman of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

“The President has been pleased to appoint Manoj Sinha, to be the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office vice Girish Chandra Murmu,” he added.

It is not the first time that Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer from Gujarat cadre, has resigned ahead of his tenure.

He was the expenditure secretary in the finance ministry when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah decided to elevate him to the new union territory’s Raj Bhawan. Murmu had then resigned from his post a month before his retirement last year in November.

Lieutenant Governors of union territories, quite like governors of states, are appointed for a five-year term.

Murmu, who is said to have the trust of PM Modi and Shah, had worked with them in Gujarat when he was posted in the home department. After PM Modi came to Delhi in 2014, Murmu moved to the Gujarat chief minister’s office as principal secretary to Anandiben Patel who had succeeded Modi in the state. He joined the central government less than a year later as a joint secretary in the finance ministry.

Varied reasons are being attributed to Murmu’s sudden exit. Recently, the Election Commission had taken exception to his comments to the media on the timing of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

The EC had said that all decisions on the conduct and timing of elections are its “sole remit” and that L-G should refrain from commenting on issues that are not in his domain.

Another reason being cited is Murmu’s statement on restoration of 4G network in the union territory. Murmu had reportedly said that he didn’t see any problem in the restoration of 4G network Jammu and Kashmir.

The apex court is adjudicating a writ petition over continued suspension of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 last year when Centre had revoked its special status and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories.

People aware of the developments in Jammu and Kashmir said that since there had been differences between Murmu and chief secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, administrative work was not hassle free.

“Then there was a lobby in the bureaucracy, which had not been working the way Murmu wanted. He wanted the entire machinery to reach out to the people in right earnest and ensure speedy development which was not the case,” they said.

On Wednesday, Murmu had reviewed security scenario in a meeting with Northern Army commander, Lieutenant General YK Joshi.

Murmu had assumed charge in October last year and his stint in Jammu and Kashmir lasted just nine months.

There is speculation that he may take over as the next Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India this week after present incumbent Rajiv Mehrishi attains superannuation.

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