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Why Modi govt chose trusted BJP leader Manoj Sinha to replace IAS veteran Murmu as J&K L-G

Murmu’s 4G comments, dysfunction at the top and the need for a political leader are learnt to be reasons that pushed the Modi government to replace him as J&K L-G.

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New Delhi: Girish Chandra Murmu’s inability to fill in the “political vacuum” created after the formation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, his stand on restoration of 4G internet, and the “dysfunction” in the civic administration led to his resignation as the Lieutenant Governor (L-G), ThePrint has learnt.

On Thursday, the government appointed former Union minister and three-time BJP MP Manoj Sinha as the new J&K L-G.

Government sources said one of the primary reasons for Murmu’s removal was the need for a politician at the helm — not just for the heft to carry along the bureaucracy and the security set-up, but also to reach out to the people in a non-bureaucratic way.

However, the immediate trigger for Murmu’s exit was his comments on the restoration of 4G internet services in the UT against the wishes of the Narendra Modi government, the sources said. While the Ministry of Home Affairs opposes the move over fears of misuse by anti-state elements, Murmu in an interview said he is “not afraid how people of Kashmir will use” the internet.

His comments on the timing of assembly elections also didn’t help, with even the Election Commission rapping him.

Murmu was asked to resign Wednesday, the sources said, adding that he could be given a role in New Delhi to handle an important organisation.

Also read: Kashmir wakes up to deserted streets, closed shops on first anniversary of Article 370 move

Needed someone with political acumen

Sources said the appointment of Sinha will help ease the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Centre realised that the bureaucrat as the L-G was not working well. There was a political vacuum that was created last year with the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories and the abrogation of Article 370,” said a source.

“Murmu with a bureaucratic mindset could not fill that. Hence, it was felt that someone with political acumen, who can really go out and meet with various sections of society in a more amenable manner, is the need of the hour. And hence Sinha, who enjoys the trust of the top leadership in New Delhi, was selected” a source said.

Sources said that there have been a lot of complaints in New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir that there was “dysfunction” in the UT.

“Not everybody went along with each other. There was a lot of dysfunction at the top. Murmu was a bureaucrat and hence had a different style of working. Others there at the helm of affairs were also bureaucrats and Murmu was not that senior for others to fall in line completely,” said a second source.

While the security set-up in the Union Territory was more or less in place, there were issues on the civilian side, added the sources.

There has been speculation that J&K chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam was not on the same page as Murmu on several occasions. The chief secretary is an old hand when it comes to J&K and enjoys the confidence of Home Minister Amit Shah.

However, sources said that there could be more changes at the administration level in the coming weeks once Sinha assumes charge as the L-G.

Also read: Transformation is underway in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, says S Jaishankar


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  1. Nothing is going to change in ground reality of Kashmir. No matter what the New Delhi ruling class set the standards, it won’t work so easily after Aborogatio of article 370.
    Already the said Abrogation has made the life of Kashmir hell, by putting restrictions on the people’s movement and official curfews and lockdowns has alienated the people of Kashmir more and more..
    Hard to find a viable solution, unless new Delhi don’t recognize the importance of this decades old dispute..

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