New Delhi, Aug 21: When NN Vohra's term as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir ended on June 28, 2018, speculations were rife as to who would replace him. Several names, from Lieutenant General DS Hooda to Major General GD Bakshi, were doing the rounds since then. Lt.Gen.Syed Ata Hasnain was also seen as the contender for the post. Since 1967, the post has been occupied only by retired civil servants, diplomats, police officers and Army generals.
The government today (August 21) announced that BJP leader Satyapal Malik, who is the current Governor of Bihar, would be the next Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Malik will be the first career politician to be appointed as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 51 years after Karan Singh, whose term ended in 1967.
Jammu and Kashmir is currently under Governor's rule after the BJP pulled out of the ruling coalition with the PDP in June this year.
Karan Singh was the last Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with a political background. He served from 1965 to 1967. The appointment of Malik, who will head the administration in the border state, also comes against the backdrop of the changing political scenario amid speculation of the possibility of some disgruntled MLAs in the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP joining hands with the BJP.
Malik's appointment brings to an end the tenure of Vohra, a former civil servant who took over as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir on June 25, 2008, at a difficult time when the state was facing the Amarnath land row agitation.
Malik, who has been associated with almost all political parties, started as a socialist leader in Meerut University during his student days to finally become the vice president of the BJP before being appointed as the Bihar governor last year. Malik was with the Bhartiya Kranti Dal, Lok Dal, Congress and Janata Dal and the BJP during his long political career. He became the MLA of Charan Singh's Bhartiya Kranti Dal from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh in 1974.
He joined the Congress in 1984 and became its Rajya Sabha MP but resigned three years later in the background of Bofors scam. He switched to the V P Singh-led Janata Dal in 1988 and became an MP from Aligarh on its ticket in 1989. In 2004, Malik joined the BJP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections, losing to Charan Singh's son Ajit Singh. Before taking oath as Bihar governor on October 4, 2017, he was in-charge of the BJP's Kisan Morcha.
Malik had served as the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Tourism and held many important positions at the central and Uttar Pradesh government.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs