Governor Satya Pal Malik has urged militants to shun militancy and promised them rehabilitation in case they did so. At the same time, he has denied that there was anything like Operation All Out being pursued by the state government in Kashmir. He called it a wrong term to describe the anti-militancy operations in the state. Malik was also forthright about his opinion of the senior political leaders in the state who, he said, will go to any extent to get the votes. Being a politician, Malik usually doesnt talk like a Governor. His statements are generally rhetorical in nature. And he doesnt mince words while taking on his opponents. Ever since he took over as the J&K Governor, Malik has made his presence felt. He has since presided over the controversial decision of the dissolution of Assembly when the three major political parties NC, PDP, Congress – had come together to form the government. But he was subsequently candid about the decision saying it was the easier course than to choose between installing Sajad Lone as the Chief Minister with the backing of the potential defectors from the PDP and the other parties. This has also lent his statements a kind of an endearing quality. His harshest statements are often melded with the one that displays a degree of empathy for the state and its people. For example, his denial of the existence of the Operation All Out is accompanied by his lament that the J&K is being demonised across the country. And he makes it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is far ahead than many of the states in the country and the J&K Bank is one such institution which is doing good.
However, the real test for the Governor begins now as the state and the country looks forward to Assembly and parliament polls. The situation in Kashmir will be likely of a critical significance for the BJP in the run-up to the general election this year. So the party will be keen to see the situation in the state normalize or managed in a way that will be electorally most beneficial for it. And Malik will be expected to make it happen on the ground. And the BJP hardly finds a soft approach to Kashmir politically profitable. So, the months ahead are going to be more of the same muscular approach towards the Valley. The effort has been to kill the way to peace in the state. So, it is wrong for the Governor to say that the Operation All Out doesnt exist. But the people in the Valley would expect the Governor to prevail on New Delhi to pursue an approach based on dialogue and engagement with the stakeholders in the state. Governors political touch shouldnt remain limited to the words only, it should extend to action also.
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