New LG

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AS expected, people in Kashmir Valley have largely been indifferent to the appointment of new J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. And understantably so. Since the revocation of Article 370 last year, people in the Valley have hardly felt any sense of involvement in the functioning of the administration. Nor has the administration sought to involve them in its functioning, let alone open itself to public scrutiny considering the state of local media.

That said the appointment of a career politician as a governor is a good news. Engaging with the people and being responsive to their mood and grievances is a politician’s basic instinct. His career as also the achievement of his political, ideological and development objectives depend on this. Though the situation in Kashmir is different and the politics here doesn’t operate normally, people will still expect a politician governor to act differently than his predecessor, a career bureaucrat.

Would Sinha be any different? Well, here’s hoping he is. He has had a long innings in politics. An alumnus of IIT-BHU, Sinha 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 landslide victory in the 2017 Assembly elections, but the state’s top job finally went to Yogi Adityanath. Sinha has started his political career as a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidharthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP, in the 1970s.

Soon after taking over as Sinha called Kashmir “a heaven of India”. He termed the August 5 an important date as “after years of isolation J&K came to mainstream”. More importantly, Sinha affirmed there won’t be any bias against anyone He has assured the people that their genuine grievances will be listened to and a way out found. And if the tweets he has issued since his takeover as the LG are anything to go by – one of which was about the Kashmiri pronunciation of the names of the local places – he is already trying to relate to people. Here’s hoping the LG Sinha follows it up with a more substantive outreach to the people.

The past year has sadly been bereft of any political activity not only in the Valley but in Jammu too. The attempts to kickstart it have been frustrated, almost nipped in the bud. An administration headed by a bureaucrat only further deepened this vacuum. This is where the stepping in of a politician LG is expected to make a redeeming difference. And to start with the LG can make the government more responsive to the grievances of the people as he himself has made it clear.

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