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‘Politician-Governor sent to revive dialogue process in JK’

New Delhi, Aug 27: Sending a core-politician like Satya Pal Malik to J&K as Governor is a move to “kick-start political activity” and “initiate the dialogue process”, BJP National General Secretary, Ram Madhav said on Monday. Madhav, in an article he wrote for The Indian Express, said it was after 51 years, J&K got a politician as Governor when Satya Pal Malik replaced NN Vohra a few days ago. He said that starting with Bhagwan Sahay, an ICS officer, who succeeded Karan Singh in 1967, the state has had either bureaucrats or diplomats or army officials as governors for five decades. Probably no other Indian state has had such a history of non-politicians holding the office of governor for so long,” wrote Madhav while adding that “credit” goes to PM Narendra Modi for “breaking this tradition and sending a politician as governor.” “It is also a gradual progression from military men like Girish Chandra Saxena and SK Sinha to a bureaucrat, NN Vohra, and finally to a politician, Satya Pal Malik,” wrote Madhav. Referring to Jagmohan and SK Sinha, Madhav wrote that there is “nothing wrong” in non-politicians, like bureaucrats and military officials, and of late, retired judges, becoming governors. “…Jagmohan and SK Sinha, coming from bureaucratic and military backgrounds, had worked phenomenally well. But what J&K badly needed at this juncture was a politician with a political vision — one who understands the significance of political activism and with whom the local politicians can relate,” he added. Madhav, in the article, claimed that the political class in the Valley had “surrendered the space” to militants and separatists. “All that they do when the ‘terrorists’ strike is to clamour for talks,” he said. Madhav, who has been BJP’s point-man on Kashmir, said that people want to talk to leaders, but leaders want governments to talk to militants. “No government talks with anybody at gunpoint. For the rest, the government has expressed its willingness to engage with various sections of the state, who want peace and progress. The new governor being a politician can be an effective interlocutor for initiating the dialogue process,” his article read. Madhav claimed that the “need of the hour” was for national and regional political parties and players of various hues to “reoccupy their legitimate space”. “It must not be forgotten that in the initial decades after Independence, even overtly pro-Pakistan parties like the Jamaat had turned to day-to-day political activity, including elections, for legitimacy. Gradually, as the politics in the state was monopolised by a few families with the tacit support of the Centre, all the other players moved out and some of them ended up mired in undemocratic forms of dissent like violent separatism and terrorism,” he wrote. Madhav said that Malik, a lawyer by education and a politician with vast parliamentary experience of around four decades, including as a minister in the VP Singh cabinet, handling the parliamentary affairs and tourism portfolios, is the “suitable man” for the job. “A leader of great learning and knowledge, his past friendship and association with leaders like Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has given him valuable insights into the politics and problems of J&K,” he said. Madhav added that as governor, Malik’s “agenda is cut out”: “Accelerating development activity, resolving the governance deficit, and continuing with strong counter-terror measures. But what is most important is to kickstart political activity in the state.” “Elections to local bodies, announced by the outgoing Governor Vohra, are an important step in that direction. But they are not enough. The legislative assembly, with 87 members, is in suspended animation. It has a tenure of over 30 months left. The legislators have to be encouraged to actively undertake political and developmental activities in the state. It is not the gun of the security forces or the pen of the bureaucrats that should be the permanent feature of governance; it must be returned to the political leadership sooner than later,” he said. Calling Malik a seasoned politician, Madhav said he “understands that the answer to the seeming anarchy in the state is not the security or bureaucratic option alone. It can be more democracy and more political action too.”