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Last Updated : Aug 06, 2020 04:00 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Who is Manoj Sinha and what his appointment as new J&K L-G means

Murmu's replacement could also be due to his comments on 4G restoration in the Union Territory and the dysfunction within the civic administration

A Union minister in the first term of the Narendra Modi government, Manoj Sinha, who is also a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Uttar Pradesh, was on August 6 appointed as the new Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.

The appointment was announced after Girish Chandra Murmu resigned from the post on August 5. There was no official word on the reasons behind Murmu's resignation. Murmu, a 1985-batch IAS officer, had served as Principal Secretary to Modi during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister.

Sources told Moneycontrol that Murmu was likely to be given a new assignment at the Centre.

Who is Manoj Sinha?

Known as 'vikas purush' (leader involved in development), Sinha, a three-time Lok Sabha MP, was tasked with the charge of the Communication Ministry as Minister of State in 2016 when the telecom industry was engaged in the sale of spectrum.

Sinha, a B.Tech in civil engineering, has been credited with overcoming the menace of call drop.

Elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 for the first time, Sinha, an agriculturist, is the first politician to be elected as LG of the Union territory.

Earlier the Centre had appointed Satya Pal Malik, a politician, as governor of the erstwhile state before it was bifurcated into two Union Territories -- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir -- on August 5 last year.

Sinha was elected to Lok Sabha in 1999 and 2014, and was a front-runner for the post of Uttar Pradesh chief minister after the party walked away with 265 seats in the 403-member assembly.

He began his political career after being elected President of the Banaras Hindu University Students Union in 1982 and has been actively involved in working for backward villages.

What his appointment means:

Sinha's appointment, experts noted, is a political one and could signal a change in the Centre's strategy with regard to the Valley.

According to a report by The Hindu, Sinha's quiet and down-to-earth nature will help in reaching out to the people in the state. In fact, with Sinha's appointment, the government hopes to reach out to the people of J&K with a soft political touch, Hindustan Times reported.

"The Centre realised that a bureaucrat as L-G was not working well. There was a political vacuum that was created last year with the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories and the abrogation of Article 370," a source told ThePrint. 

"Murmu with a bureaucratic mindset could not fill that. Hence, it was felt that someone with political acumen, who can really go out and meet with various sections of society in a more amenable manner, is the need of the hour. And hence Sinha, who enjoys the trust of the top leadership in New Delhi, was selected," the source added.

Apart from these reasons, reports have also stated that Murmu's replacement could also be due to his comments on 4G restoration in the Union Territory, wherein he had said that the J&K administration has been making representations for the restoration of 4G, suspended for a year in the Valley. Reports also suggest that there has been some dysfunction within the civic administration.

(With inputs from PTI)
First Published on Aug 6, 2020 03:42 pm