Former Union minister Manoj Sinha has been appointed as Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor, a day after GC Murmu abruptly resigned. A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique on Thursday morning said the outgoing lieutenant governor's resignation has been accepted.
Murmu resigned on Wednesday night, exactly one year after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was downgraded and sliced into two Union territories, the other one being Ladakh.
Speaking of News18, Sinha said that the new role is a "big responsibility" and he "would be going to Kashmir today".
Appointment of a political leaders instead of a career bureaucrat in Srinagar as Centre's representative indicates a greater thrust in the days ahead to create conducive conditions to start political process in the state. Elections to the Union territory assembly are pending and the Centre has been testing waters with the release of political leadership in the state.
Sinha was a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government between 2014 and 2019 and has handled key ministries like Telecom. He was BHU student union president leader and has won Lok Sabha elections twice from Ghazipur in eastern UP. He, however, lost the 2019 polls.
Reacting to the development, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said, "Last night there were one or two names that people were circulating as a done deal and this name wasn’t among them. You can always trust this government to pull an unexpected name out of the hat contrary to anything the 'sources' had planted earlier."
Union minister Jitendra Singh, meanwhile, praised Sinha and said he carries with him "a rich combination of both political as well as administrative experience". "Spoke to Shri @manojsinhabjp ji and congratulated him on being appointed as Lieutenant Governor of #JammuAndKashmir. He carries with him a rich combination of both political as well as administrative experience," Singh tweeted.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar also congratulated Sinha.