When the people in Jammu and Kashmir were busy with festivities of celebrating the Eid, the new man from Delhi arrived to take over the reins of disgruntled state.
Nevertheless, Kashmir has always been unpredictable and sprung the surprise and shocks not for its people only but for the whole country.
While going a little back in 2016 after two days of Eid festivities in July, the people started grappling with dozens of killings in the aftermath of top militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing that was followed by large scale of protests, political crisis and economic lockdown.
Comparatively the development today is much smaller. In Kashmir where the people are politically very sensitive and vigilant knew this all that NN Vohra after his longest inning of ten years has to go. But who will replace him? Nobody knew.
Malik is succeeding one of the most successful administrators of Kashmir.
In 2008 when Jammu and Kashmir was burning and the state was divided on religious lines following the row over the shifting of forest land to shrine board the political system had collapsed and there was no sign of hope for the normalcy to return. Congress in Delhi chooses Vohra as right man to douse the communal and regional flames.
Vohra succeeded and won accolades and respect across the regional and religious beliefs in state that ultimately made it difficult for Congress to replace him until now.
When BJP threw away the Congress in Delhi and later also formed the coalition in state with PDP in 2014, replacing Vohra with their own choice took it more than three years. He upheld the values and decorum of his chair.
The perception about his working style was considered tough but rarely is it seen that he had acted tough on issues and against the administration in a span of over 10 years. It was more of his will power not the discretionary powers affixed in the constitution that was influencing the administration.
As the governor of troubling state, Vohra acted as a binding force for its political class and the common people across the regions. As he is out now Satya Pal Malik must he bracing up for bigger challenges to run the state.
Kashmir is not Bihar and everything unfolding here has prompt international dimensions. So the functioning of state stands different unique and off course challenging. Malik and Vohra has contrasting experiences. While Vohra was an ace administrator and former IAS officer, Malik is a seasoned politician and his career spans over the decades in politics. He is also known for having lineage towards the ruling regime in New Delhi.
While there is apprehension that his tenure may be mired into controversies since he may turn more loyal to Delhi instead of state, it may also offer him a great opportunity in turning the situation into his favour. In absence of any government Malik enjoys full powers and this border region needs a tough administrator who can set the state machinery rolling. Since he enjoys the backing of New Delhi Malik shall turn the situation into his favour.
The stalled developmental activities must gear up and the politics may stay away for a while. He shall refrain from issuing the political statements and focus on governance. People in Kashmir have heard lots of statements but the action is missing.
Kashmir is not only a test for Malik in fact it will serve as a litmus test for New Delhi too. One ahs to see whether they want to serve their interests in Kashmir while installing their choices here or they have really a concern for the state which is in a real bad shape.