Manoj Sinha takes oath as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Friday | Photo: ANI
File image of Manoj Sinha taking oath as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: A week after the appointment of former Union Minister Manoj Sinha as the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP now wants him to appoint new advisers, who have political, and not bureaucratic, background.

The BJP also wants Sinha to expedite pending development projects in the union territory at the earliest and ensure a conducive environment to initiate political activities that remain stalled since the scrapping of Article 370 last August. The party also wants him to talk to everyone, including National Conference and PDP leaders, for early restoration of political activities, BJP leaders told ThePrint.

“It is not possible to restore the political process if the door of Raj Bhawan is not open to the public. Normalcy is a complex issue, and it cannot be done in a bureaucratic manner,” BJP general secretary (organisation ), J&K, Ashok Kaul told ThePrint.

“People’s trust in the government should be restored, people’s trust is necessary. For that, Sinha should appoint political advisers, who can meet with people, listen to their problems and address them. Civil servants don’t meet people, so they can’t understand people’s problems.” 

At present, there are four advisors to the L-G — Kewal Kumar Sharma, Farooq Khan, Rajeev Bhatnagar and Baseer Ahmed Khan. All of them are civil servants and were appointed during G.C. Murmu’s tenure.

These advisers to the L-G are powerful postings and they act as the in-charge of many departments to execute development works. But the BJP now wants Sinha to replace these four advisers with those with political experience, who can travel to far-flung areas to interact with people and understand their issues first-hand.

BJP sources said that one of the grievances against Murmu was that he was more or less bureaucratic in his functioning, and he rarely met people to know about their issues.

Sources in J&K BJP said senior leaders have sought time from Sinha to meet him so that they can apprise him of all these issues.


Also read: New L-G Manoj Sinha’s fake account surfaces on Twitter, J&K Police files FIR


Dialogue with everyone, including NC and PDP 

Former J&K deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh said that the first step to restore normalcy in J&K is initiating dialogue with political parties, which can facilitate desired results.

A year after the scrapping of Article 370, the delimitation process should be sped up and before thinking of holding elections in the UT, everyone should be approached to listen to their concerns, he added.

“After the revocation of Article 370, everyone understands the new reality of Kashmir, even (former CM) Omar Abdullah has not demanded restoration of the special status. They are demanding statehood, which prime minister (Narendra Modi) has committed to on the floor of the House (Lok Sabha) in his speech, but before that new L-G should interact with everyone, including NC and PDP leaders, for political processes to start. There is no harm in this, after all they are all active in the Valley now,” he added.

Speed up development work to win people’s faith

Kaul told ThePrint that Sinha will be requested to speed up development projects and finish them on time so that people’s faith in the democratic process increases.

“Many development works like Jammu ring road project, Gondola project, reorganisation of districts should be completed at the earliest to showcase development before election,” said the leader.

“The Jammu ring road project, which was inaugurated by PM Modi (in 2018), is only 27 per cent complete and is likely to miss the 2021 deadline. The Jammu ropeway project also missed several deadlines and it is one of the prestigious projects for Jammu region, which needs immediate commissioning. It was planned in 1995. The project work is almost complete, but after 5 August (last year), it was halted. It needs commissioning,” he added.

Kaul also said that the BJP wants Sinha to continue with the ‘Back to Village’ programme.

The programme, started during Murmu’s tenure, was quite successful in which 5,000 government officials were deputed to go to villages to live with the residents for two days to understand and address their concerns.

Concern over rising attack on BJP workers 

A year after the Article 370 move, militants have stepped up attacks on BJP workers.

On Monday, militants lobbed a grenade on BJP panchayat member Bhupinder Singh’s house in Pulwama.

On Sunday, BJP worker Abdul Hamid Najar was shot at by militants in Budgam district. He succumbed to injuries at a hospital Monday. Najar was the fourth BJP worker or office-bearer targeted by militants in the last one month.

Many BJP office-bearers have resigned from their posts in the last 2-3 days due to these attacks, party sources said.

“This is one main concern, which needs to be addressed. The Centre has promised deployment of additional security forces, but that is not a lasting solution. How can 24,000 panches be guarded or shifted to a secure place? This needs to be changed by involving the public and all stakeholders. That’s the only way forward. We will discuss this issue with the L-G,” said BJP general secretary of J&K, Sunil Sharma.


Also read: Why Manoj Sinha, PM Modi’s first true emissary in Kashmir, is in for a rough ride


 

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