NEW DELHI: Satyapal Malik, the newly appointed governor of Jammu and Kashmir, will be administered the oath of office Thursday, ending the five-decade-long practice of retired bureaucrats being appointed to the post, officials said Wednesday.
Malik (72) has the experience of working with almost all political hues of the country, and will be the first career politician to assume the position after Karan Singh, who held the office from 1965 to 1967.
Malik, former governor of Bihar, arrived in Srinagar in a chartered plane today.
Outgoing Governor N N Vohra, who was at the helm of affairs for the last 10 years, Wednesday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a courtesy visit.
He also met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The militancy-hit state is at present under the Governor’s rule after the BJP withdrew support from its alliance partner PDP in June this year.
Vohra, a 1959-batch Punjab cadre IAS officer, had remained the choice of the central government irrespective of the party in power due to his knowledge, expertise and negotiation skills.
Just as he saw Jammu and Kashmir through its worst crises, including the Amarnath agitation row in 2008, Vohra also witnessed the rise and fall of militancy in Punjab.
He was the home secretary of Punjab after Operation Blue Star in 1984 when the state was in the thick of a bloody struggle for Khalistan, and the Army stormed into the Golden Temple.
In 1993, soon after the serial bombings in Mumbai, Vohra was appointed the Union home secretary. From 1990 to 1993, he was the defence secretary.
After his retirement in 1994, he had submitted a report of a committee, which studied the problem of criminalisation in politics and examined the criminal-politician-bureaucrat nexus in India.
Malik, who will be taking over the reins tomorrow, is a career politician who started as a student leader in Meerut University and became an MLA of Charan Singh’s Bhartiya Kranti Dal from Baghpat, in Uttar Pradesh, in 1974.
He had joined the Congress in 1984, and became a Rajya Sabha MP, but resigned three years later against the backdrop of the Bofors scam. He switched to the V P Singh-led Janta Dal in 1988 and became an MP from Aligarh in 1989.
In 2004, Malik joined the BJP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections, losing to former prime minister 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.