Satya Pal Malik, the incumbent governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is likely to be appointed as the Lieutenant-Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on 31 October.
Malik, who has been associated with political parties of all hues, was the first career politician to be appointed to the gubernatorial position of the politically sensitive state in 51 years after Karan Singh whose term had ended in 1967.
He started his political career as a socialist student leader in Meerut University, changing affiliations frequently from the Lok Dal to the Congress to the Janata Dal before joining the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004.
He was reportedly the BJP's top pick for the post of Governor of Bihar in 2017 after Ram Nath Kovind vacated the position. According to the Quint, his tenure as the Governor of Bihar paved his appointment to the gubernatorial position in Jammu and Kashmir, over and above bureaucrats and officials suited for the post.
Malik took charge as the governor of the conflict-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmirin August 2018. During the early days of his tenure, Malik had irked several main political parties in the state over his comments alleging widespread corruption among the bureaucracy and political leadership.
His comments drew criticism from a range of political leaders, including senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz who had then advised the governor to focus on particular acts of corruption rather than painting the entire class of civil servants as corrupt in a single stroke.
Most notably, Malik had alleged that the appointments to the Jammu and Kashmir Bank during the PDP-BJP’s rule in the state were influenced to favour appointment of workers of certain political parties. The allegations were strongly refuted by the bank’s CEO Pervez Ahmed who maintained the bank's proceeding was carried out in a fair and transparent manner.
Months after assuming charge of the state, which had been under Governor’s rule from June 2018, in a controversial move Malik dissolved the 87-member Assembly rejecting attempts at government formation by two sets of alliances — the PDP, Congress and the National Conference and People’s Conference, BJP and 18 unknown members — citing horse-trading and lack of stability due to ideological differences among the parties as the reasons. He then went on to recommend the imposition of the President’s Rule in the state following which the Narendra Modi government imposed President’s Rule on 20 December, 2018.
Immediately after the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, he also took a decision to treat the J&K bank as a private entity, inviting censure from PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who alleged that the J&K governor was taking decisions beyond his mandate.
In another controversial statement made in July this year, Malik asked militants to stop killing innocent people, including security personnel, and rather target "those who have looted the wealth of Kashmir for years", evoking severe criticism from mainstream politicians.
"This man, ostensibly a responsible man occupying a constitutional position, tells militants to kill politicians perceived to be corrupt. Perhaps, the man should find out about his own reputation in Delhi these days before sanctioning unlawful killings & kangaroo courts (sic)," National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had tweeted.
After the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370, thus revoking the special status granted to the state, Malik defended the communication blackout saying that it was a necessary measure. "For us, the life of a Kashmiri was important and not telephone. People were living without telephone earlier also," ANI had reported him as saying.
Malik had also entered into a war of words with opposition leaders, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over their demand to visit the state and meet politicians who had been kept under detention.
Responding to Gandhi, Malik had offered to send the Congress leader an aircraft to visit the Valley and observe the ground situation but backtracked later saying that the administration was busy preparing for Independence Day celebrations in the state. In the war of words that played over days, Malik had lashed out at Rahul for putting "pre-conditions" for a visit to the Kashmir Valley and alleged he was trying to "create unrest" by seeking to bring a delegation of Opposition leaders.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 23, 2019 09:25:22 IST