Manoj Sinha, the new lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir

In a significant move exactly a year after the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was revoked and the state converted into two union territories (UTs), the top administrator of the UT of J&K has been changed.

With Girish Chandra Murmu suddenly announcing his retirement from the post of lieutenant governor (L-G) on Wednesday night, senior BJP leader and former union minister Manoj Sinha has been chosen as his replacement by the Narendra Modi government.

A press release from the office of President Ram Nath Kovind said: “The President has been pleased to appoint Shri Manoj Sinha, to be the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office vice Shri Girish Chandra Murmu.”

Murmu, a 1985-batch officer from the Gujarat cadre, had worked with Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat. When Modi became prime minister, Murmu joined the union ministry.

He had assumed charge of the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir post in October 2019 and remained L-G for nine months till the sudden decision to replace him on Wednesday night. Media reports indicate that Murmu is in the running to take over as the Comptroller Auditor General of India, a post that will get vacant this week.

Interestingly, the change in guard in the UT comes barely a week after the Election Commission ticked off Murmu for his comments on the timings of elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

His comments on restoring 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir may not have gone down too well with the NDA government either.

Who is Manoj Sinha?

An alumnus of  IIT-BHU, Manoj Sinha, 61, is a former union minister and three-time MP representing Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur constituency. He was believed to be in the running for the post of chief minister in Uttar Pradesh after the BJP scored a stunning victory in the 2017 Assembly elections, but the state’s top job finally went to Yogi Adityanath.

Sinha joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidharthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP, in the 1970s.

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