The Centre on Tuesday appointed Satya Pal Malik as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Malik replaces former bureaucrat N N Vohra, who had been the state's Governor for 10 years since June 2008.
Malik's appointment is significant as Jammu and Kashmir is currently under Governor's Rule. A communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan issued on Tuesday evening said Malik is being transferred as Bihar Governor and appointed the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre had been looking for a political replacement to Vohra. Malik, 71, is a late entrant to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). With the state under Governor's Rule, Malik would be expected to strike a fine balance between the BJP, which is dominant in Jammu, and the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has influence in Kashmir. The BJP had parted ways with the PDP in June, leading to Mehbooba quitting as chief minister of the state and Jammu and Kashmir being placed under Governor's Rule.
Incidentally, Malik was a junior member of the V P Singh-led council of ministers in the National Front government of 1989-90. The late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Mehbooba's father, was the home minister in that government.
Malik hails from western Uttar Pradesh and started his political career as a student leader in Meerut. He was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly from 1974 to 77, and has been a member at different times of Chaudhary Charan Singh-led Bharatiya Lok Dal, Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and also the Congress. He is married to noted environmentalist Iqbal Malik.
The Centre also appointed Lal Ji Tandon, senior BJP leader from UP, as Governor of Bihar. Satyadev Narayan Arya, a BJP leader from Bihar and former mining minister in the Nitish Kumar government, replaced Kaptan Singh Solanki as Governor of Haryana.
Solanki has been transferred and appointed Governor of Tripura. Tathagata Roy has been transferred from Tripura and appointed Governor of Meghalaya.
Ganga Prasad has been transferred from Meghalaya to be Sikkim's new Governor. Baby Rani Maurya, BJP leader and former mayor of Agra, replaced former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer K K Paul as Uttarakhand Governor.