New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir will get a new Governor as the Centre has decided not to continue with NN Vohra, sources have told NDTV.
Mr Vohra, 82, who has handled the charge of Jammu and Kashmir for more than a decade, will not be given another term. Search is on for a new face and one of the contenders is former home secretary and current Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s Rule since June 20, after the BJP ended its coalition government with Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party or PDP, saying it was “untenable” to continue because of security concerns and rising terrorism.
Sources said the Centre and Mr Vohra do not see eye to eye on the formation of a new government in Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre is keen on it, but Mr Vohra, who had handled the state four times between governments, is not ready to comply, NDTV said.
A senior functionary of the home ministry said, “At this late stage he is not ready to accommodate certain decisions”.
The official said Mr Vohra does not want to become another Jagmohan. In 1984, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had asked sitting governor BK Nehru to remove the Farooq Abdullah government. When he resisted, he was replaced by Jagmohan, who made it possible for GM Shah to become the new Chief Minister of the state.
The trigger for the Centre’s decision, however, was a disagreement over Article 35A of the Constitution. The article — which allows the state government to define who is a permanent resident of the state and provide them with special privileges – is an extremely sensitive issue for Kashmiris, who see it as a matter of self-determination.
The Centre’s decision not to defend the rule, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court, has wiped out the political lines and brought together all Kashmiris. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case on August 6.
Sources said Governor Vohra has written a letter to home minister Rajnath Singh, saying that issue of Article 35-A should not be dealt with till a popular government has been formed, NDTV reported.
Mr Vohra was appointed by the UPA government and the Narendra Modi government had continued with him. Even though his term ended on June 28, the Centre decided to continue with him. The Amarnath Yatra was due to start at the time and the Governor was heading the board which was looking into elaborate security cover.
Sources said another name that’s being discussed is that of a former Army chief. “Either a senior bureaucrat or a former general would replace Vohra and no politician would be head of the state, as it would have international ramifications,” said a senior official.
The Centre also feels a new Governor would be able to handle the situation in a more effective manner as security forces step up the anti-terror operations. The unified command for security forces under former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had virtually collapsed. The new Governor will have a clear mandate from the Centre to revive the command and control structure. The new governor will also have an assurance of a long tenure, sources said.