The 81-year-old, known for his administrative acumen, understands state politics and aspirations of the youth. This will be his fourth stint.
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra, 81, is set to run the state for the fourth time. Those who have tracked his previous tenures say that despite apprehensions of the security situation worsening, the state can expect a peaceful term under Vohra.
“Vohra’s term as governor will be good for the state because he has a thorough understanding of the state’s politics and aspirations of the Kashmiri youth. He knows almost all leaders across party lines and can easily establish a dialogue with them,” said M.M. Ansari, a former UGC member, CIC and interlocutor on J&K.
Unlike the PDP-BJP rule, where two parties with “contradictory ideologies” came together, Ansari said, Vohra’s term “is likely to be peaceful”.
“He will also make sure that Amarnath Yatra is carried out in a smooth manner because this is what people in the valley also want,” he said.
Wajahat Habibullah, former chairman of the National Minorities Commission, and a one-time J&K cadre IAS officer too believes that the state will benefit with Vohra at the helm.
“One can expect a positive outcome from his term as a governor,” he said.
In his last stint at the helm of affairs in 2016, when Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed passed away, there was a perceptible difference in the state’s administration.
Around 100 doctors who were on unauthorised leave of absence for two decades were terminated and advertisements were issued for fresh recruitments in their place. During that time, Vohra also came up with rules for the appointment of government advocates, laying down guidelines based on experience and merit.
The Centre’s flood relief distribution was also implemented successfully. Money went directly into the bank accounts of people after he gave directions in this regard on 31 March, 2016. No function was organised to claim credit for the disbursals.
Vohra, the first civilian J&K governor in 18 years, after Jagmohan Malhotra, has served as the principal secretary to then Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, was the union home secretary between 1993 and 1994, served as the defence secretary between 1990 and 1993, and was the defence production secretary from 1989 to 1990.
An interlocutor for peace in J&K, he was awarded the second highest civilian honour — the Padma Vibhushan — in 2007. He has been in charge of the state in 2015, after the 2014 assembly elections threw up a hung House and in 2008, when the PDP withdrew support to the Congress-led coalition government.
A lecturer at Panjab University before he became a bureaucrat, Vohra has also been a part of various committees — one of the important ones being the 1993 Vohra committee that looked into links between organised crime and politicians. It was for the first time that political, mafia links came to the public knowledge through this report.
The committee was constituted in the aftermath of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts when Vohra was the union home secretary.
The report contained several observations made by official agencies on the criminal network that was virtually running a parallel government. It also discussed criminal gangs that allegedly enjoyed the patronage of politicians of all parties.
The unpublished annexures to the Vohra report were believed to contain highly explosive material and have never been made public. The Supreme Court had 1997 ordered that action be taken on findings of the committee report but no action has been taken so far.
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