BJP handpicks Manoj Sinha as new J&K LT Gov

The senior BJP politician, is the second Lt Gov of the year old UT

manoj sinha

In a ‘surprise’ move, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manoj Sinha, a former Minister of State for Communications, and Minister of State for Railways in the Government of India, has been appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). 

He was appointed just a day after the Union Territory (UT) marked the first anniversary of the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and the abrogation of Article 370. The BJP leader, who is said to be close to the party leadership will be the second Governor, of the year-old UT. 

The Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir’s first lieutenant governor, Girish Chandra Murmu, a 1985 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, submitted his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday, said news reports. Interestingly the resignation itself was rather unexpected, and quiet, with no news buzz around the move. On Thursday, it was announced that President Kovind had appointed former Union minister Manoj Sinha as the next Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

The press information bureau posted a note, simply titled ‘Press Communique’, at 7:53 AM, on August 6, announcing the major development stating, “The President has accepted the resignation of Shri Girish Chandra Murmu as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. 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 Gujarat cadre IAS officer had served as principal secretary to Narendra Modi when he was Chief Minister of the state. When Murmu was appointed Lt Gov of the Union Territory it was seen as a choice approved by Prime Minister Modi, as it were. The UT has undergone a turbulent one year since its creation, apart from Covid-19 pandemic, it has seen a brewing political crisis, violence, curbing of human rights, and silencing of dissent. 

On the first anniversary of the abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, several civil society members, intellectuals and activists have written to the Prime Minister asking for statehood to be restored to the region that continues to suffer a step-daughterly treatment to this day.

The UT has also been harsh on lawyers and journalists who continue to be caught between the guns of the militants on one side, the security forces on the other. 

A year after the abrogation of article 370 in J&K, and under the harshest lockdowns, Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin  says that the region’s economy lies in shambles, and there is no trust in the government. She added how after new laws, such as the Domicile law, have come there was growing anxiety, and distress. The youth fear “that their share of jobs will go away with the domicile rules being very lax and encouraging lots of people from outside the state, the non permanent residents to avail of the benefits that were earlier their privileges.” 

Locals say that in just one year the already fragile healthcare and education system of the UT has suffered greatly, particularly in the Valley. The Forum for Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir’s report highlights human rights violations in the UT and may be read here.

As President Kovind accepted Murmu’s resignation on Thursday. According to a report in the Hindustan Times there is buzz in the city that  Girish Chandra Murmu may be appointed the next Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. The current Comptroller and Auditor General of India,  Rajiv Mehrishi who assumed office on 25 September 2017, is said to be retiring soon. The CAG is “constitutional functionary,” and as stated by the official website, is “primarily entrusted with the responsibility to audit the accounts and related activities of the three tiers of Government.”

According to political analysts, Sinha, a career politician has been appointed as Lieutenant Governor to perhaps make the position seem less administrative. As the HT states, it may even be an attempt at “reaching out to the people of the union territory with a soft political touch, something that Murmu, a former bureaucrat, could not achieve during his nine-month tenure.” 

News reports also stated that “after Satyapal Malik, who was governor of erstwhile J&K state, Sinha is the new political touch to the Valley.” Sinha is an alumni of IIT-BHU, and though he lost the last Lok Sabha election to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Afzal Ansari, has represented the parliamentary constituency of Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh thrice in the Lok Sabha. He has also served as Minister of Communications and Minister of state for Railways.

Vice President JKNC, a former CM of J&K state, ex Union Minister, Omar Abdullah, who is always quick to respond on social media posted, “You can always trust this government to pull an unexpected name out of the hat contrary to anything the “sources” had planted earlier.”

He was reacting to the buzz that had begun on August 5 afternoon that the Lt Governor will be replaced.

Interestingly Sinha’s name was not on the ‘shortlist’ being circulated on the political grapevine. It, however, was on all such lists way back in 2017 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was looking to appoint the next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. 


Kashmir’s politics, social fabric, economy is battered, silenced, imprisoned: Anuradha Bhasin 

Sarpanch shot at, grenade lobbed at cops in J&K; officials deny violence!

Activists demand restoration of statehood for J&K

This will rebound on you, you will have to answer for your misdeeds: Farooq Abdullah

Jammu and Kashmir: The impact of lockdowns on Human Rights 




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