The state of Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed historic political reforms with the controversial special status under Article 370 rendered inoperative by the Modi government and the state bifurcated into two Union Territories- Ladakh (without legislature) and Jammu & Kashmir (with legislature) after the Parliament approved the Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019. The Bill now awaits the Presidential assent following which it will become an Act of the Parliament and the two Union Territories will officially come into existence. Now, that the state has been bifurcated into two Union Territories and the bifurcation is all set to come into effect very soon, Jammu & Kashmir would have a Lt. Governor as the constitutional head, in a Puducherry-like arrangement. The current governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is Satyapal Malik.
Modi government would need a dexterous hand in dealing with crucial initial years of the Union Territory. And no one could be better for the job than Satyapal Malik, the present Governor of Jammu & Kashmir. Malik who has proven his worth as the Jammu & Kashmir Governor seems to be a perfect match for this arduous job. He was appointed as the Jammu & Kashmir Governor shortly after Governor’s rule had been imposed in the state after the PDP-BJP coalition government had fallen apart. As per reports, the centre needed an experienced administrator to conduct the ongoing Amarnath Yatra at that time. And therefore, he was appointed at the top post. Satyapal Malik’s image as a non-controversial politician in his four-decade long public life and his long experience made him a perfect candidate for the job of Jammu and Kashmir Governor.
During his tenure as the Governor of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik was able to handle tricky and challenging situations in an adroit manner, proving his worth. Jammu and Kashmir was embroiled in a political crisis with several factions staking claim to form government in the state. He had dissolved the State Assembly and said in a statement, “The impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies including some which have been demanding dissolution of the Assembly; whereas the experience of the past few years shows that with the fractured mandate that is there in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties.” Throughout his tenure, he was able to manage the state in an exceptional manner with a dissolved assembly.
However, what particularly and most vividly showcases his administrative abilities is the manner in which he handled the ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He made it a point to not stop interacting with the media. In fact, Satyapal Malik kept engagement high and still did not give any details of government’s plans away, if he was privy to them, in order to avoid security challenges. With the forces’ deployment sparking rumours about changes in constitutional provisions, the Jammu & Kashmir Governor had said that the state “has no knowledge of any changes to constitutional provisions”. He had also conveyed it to the people of the state not to panic and unnecessarily link the deployment of security forces with other issues. Satyapal Malik is a staunch nationalist and an able administrator who could play a key role in the near future when it comes to managing the newly carved out Union Territory, if he takes over as the Lieutenant Governor.