What Led To Sudden Exit Of GC Murmu?

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Srinagar: The ‘unceremonious’ exit of Girish Chandra Murmu, the first Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir, has come as a surprise here with many observers linking his ouster to the remarks he made recently.

Till Wednesday afternoon there was no such talk in the J&K secretariat. It was business as usual at the Raj Bhawan as well as Murmu met a number of people as per schedule, including GOC-in Chief of the Northern Command.

Later in the evening a few scheduled meetings were however cancelled at the last minute.

With the sun set the news about Murmu’s resignation started doing rounds on social media.

The resignation of Murmu, a 1985 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Gujarat cadre comes days after the Election Commission took an exception to his comments to the media on the timing of Assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir. In a strongly-worded statement, the EC said all decisions on the conduct and timing of elections are its “sole remit”. In an interview to The Indian Express, Murmu had emphasised that President’s Rule in J&K cannot be in place indefinitely and that “elections would not be very far.”

In a separate interview, Murmu had commented on the restoration of 4G internet in J&K. He was quoted as saying that he is “not afraid how people of Kashmir will use” the internet.  He had said the J&K administration had been making representations for restoring 4G internet services which have remained suspended for a year. “We have been representing this thing (restoration of 4G). It will not be a problem,” Murmu had said in an interview to The Indian Express.

Sources said that this stand may not have gone down well as the Ministry of Home Affairs has been opposed to the restoration of the internet over fears of “misuse”.

Besides it, the lobbies in the power corridors in Srinagar are also believed to be one of the reasons for Murmu’s resignation. Murmu reportedly had serious differences with some of the bureaucrats in the UT administration.

By bringing in a political face like Manoj Sinha, the Centre may be trying to fill the political vacuum and at the same time hoping that the administrative functioning will be smooth now.

However, according to the National Conference leader, Mustafa Kamal, people coming in will be no different because they are all just appointees of the government.

“Let us, however, hope that this new change is in the right sense. Whatever they did is to hide their own mistakes. You see they have had to face embarrassment two days back on the August 5 anniversary with the kind of hartal we saw,” he added.

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