December 7, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

When Satya Pal Malik courted controversies as governor – from Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir and Goa to Meghalaya

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When Satya Pal Malik courted controversies as governor – from Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir and Goa to Meghalaya
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When Satya Pal Malik courted controversies as governor – from Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir and Goa to Meghalaya
When Satya Pal Malik courted controversies as governor – from Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir and Goa to Meghalaya

NEW DELHI: Meghalaya governor Satya Pal Malik has kicked off a controversy yet again by speaking against the stated stand of the very Narendra Modi government which has appointed him to the gubernatorial post. His utterances have left most of the BJP leaders perplexed. They are trying to find out the motive behind Malik’s remarks which have embarrassed the party.
However, those who know Malik are aware of the fact that he has always been outspoken and has cared less about the impact his words and actions would have on the party.
A closer look at his political career suggests that Malik has generated rows in all the stints as governor of four states in as many years. Many of his controversial remarks provide fodder to the opposition parties for hitting out at the BJP.
Though Malik’s utterances have embarrassed the BJP on several occasions in the last four years, the party has always assigned him important posts even though he is relatively new to the party.
He started his political career by getting elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly from Baghpat on the ticket of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh’s Bhartiya Kranti Dal in 1974.
In 1980, he was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member of Charan Singh-led Lok Dal.
However, he joined the Congress in 1984. The Congress sent him to the Rajya Sabha in 1986 and appointed him general secretary of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC).
But he resigned from the Congress in 1987 in the wake of the Bofors scam and joined former prime minister VP Singh. He got elected in the 1989 Lok Sabha election from Aligarh on Lok Dal ticket and became Union minister of state for tourism and parliamentary affairs in the VP Singh government.
Malik joined the BJP in 2004 and contested Lok Sabha election from Baghpat but lost.
But the BJP appointed him to important posts starting from vice-president of the UP unit in 2005. He was appointed in 2009 as the national in-charge of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha (farmers’ wing).
Malik was elevated to the post of BJP national vice-president in 2012. He was re-appointed to the post in 2014. He addressed several farmers’ rallies of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Three years later, on September 30, 2017, Malik was further elevated to the post of Bihar governor. Subsequently, he was shifted to Jammu and Kashmir, Goa and finally to Meghalaya in the same capacity.
In between, while being posted in Bihar, he also held the additional charge of Odisha governor from March 21, 2018 to May 28, 2018.
In all his four stints as governor, Malik did raise eyebrows for his off-the-cuff remarks or acts.
Bihar governor (September 30, 2017 to August 23, 2018)
As governor of Bihar, Malik wrote two letters to state chief minister Nitish Kumar in the wake of alleged sex abuse of girls in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur. Terming the incident “heart-rending”, he suggested ways to prevent its recurrence.
On the basis of media reports, he also emphasised the need for an immediate and thorough investigation into irregularities in similar short stay homes. He even wrote to then Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and then Patna high court chief justice Rajendra Menon in this regard.
Jammu and Kashmir governor (August 23, 2018 to October 30, 2019)
On January 7, 2019, as Jammu and Kashmir governor, Malik defended the state (J&K was later demoted as a Union Territory on August 5, 2019 during his tenure). He said, “Jammu & Kashmir is just like others. There is no massacre going on at this time. The number of murders witnessed in Patna in a single day is equal to deaths in Kashmir in a week. Stone-pelting and recruitment to terrorist groups has stopped.”

While defending Jammu and Kashmir, Malik presented Bihar, ruled by the BJP-led NDA government, in a poor light.
He received flak once for exhorting the terrorists to kill the corrupt. He said, “These youth, who are roaming around with guns, are uselessly killing their own people such as the PSOs (personal security officers) and SPOs (special police officers). Why are you killing them? Go and kill those who have looted your country and the wealth of Kashmir. Have you killed any of them? Nothing will be achieved by this.”
However, Malik publicly apologised for his remarks. “As governor, I should have not made such a comment. But my personal feeling is the same as I said,” he remarked.
After the nullification of Articles 370 and 35(a), degrading of Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory (UT) and its bifurcation with Ladakh becoming a new UT, Malik invited Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to visit the state to see for himself the law and order situation.
However, when Rahul landed at the Srinagar airport, he did not allow him to step out and instead sent him back in about an hour’s time. Justifying his action, the governor said he had invited Rahul “out of goodwill” but he started doing politics. He said it was nothing but a political action by the Congress leaders and asked them to keep in mind the national interest first in such crucial times.
Goa governor (November 3, 2019 to August 18, 2020)
After he was shifted from Bihar to Jammu and Kashmir, Malik had criticised the former and praised the latter state.
On being transferred, he praised Goa and said uncharitable things about Jammu and Kashmir.
He said, “I have come from Kashmir, which is known to be a very problematic place. I have dealt with and handled all the issues there successfully. Now, I’m here in a peaceful and a progressive place. So, I feel that I would be spending time here in a much more peaceful way. Also, the leadership here is non-controversial. They are doing work very well.”
Malik also said how the Jammu and Kashmir governors generally just drink and play golf. During a visit to Baghpat in March 2020, he said, “Governor ka koi kaam nahi hota. Kashmir me jo governor hota hai aksar wo daru peeta hai aur golf khelta hai. Baki jagah jo governor hote hain wo aaram se rehte hain, kisi jhagde me padte nahi hain (Governor has no work. In Kashmir, the governor usually drinks alcohol and plays golf. In other states too, the governor lives peacefully and does not get involved in any kind of dispute).”

However, a few days later, he started saying harsh things about the Goa government also. He reprimanded the BJP-led Pramod Sawant government for “mismanaging” Covid-19 situation in the state.
Malik alleged that the Sawant government had taken incorrect decisions. Asking the chief minister to “pull up his socks”, he said the Centre was maintaining a close watch on the situation.
Meghalaya governor (from August 19, 2020)
Malik, hailing from the western part of UP, identifies himself essentially as a farmer. Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western UP have been protesting against the Centre’s three farm laws since November 26, 2020 on Delhi borders.
Malik raised the flag over the farmers’ protest for the first time in March this year. Addressing a gathering in his hometown Baghpat, he cautioned the Modi government against exerting pressure and insulting farmers in order to force them to leave their protest sites.
The farmers have been demanding scrapping of the three agri-marketing laws and giving a legal recognition to minimum support price (MSP). However, despite 11 rounds of talks with the farmers’ unions, the government has refused to accept these demands.
But going against the BJP’s line, Malik has demanded according legal recognition to MSP. He even said it would be his responsibility to handle the rest.
He warned the Modi government of not allowing the agitation to stretch too long. He hinted that the protests might not prove to be good for the government. He talked about Operation Blue Star and the subsequent assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi.
“If this stretches for long, I don’t know how many of you know but I know Sikhs. Indira Gandhi held a Mahamrityunjya yajna at her farmhouse for a month after (operation) Blue Star. Arun Nehru told me that he asked her why she was getting into these things she didn’t believe. She told him that she broke the Akal Takht and they (Sikhs) would not spare her. She had that premonition. General Vaidya was killed in Pune,” he said.
And now when the UP assembly election is just four-five months away, Malik has once again raked up the issue of the farmers’ protest. He is the second leader after Lok Sabha MP from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi to raise a flag over the farmers’ agitation.
In the latest round of bickering, the Meghalaya governor said the BJP would not return to power if the farmers’ demands were not met. He asked Modi and home minister Amit Shah not to offend the farmers.
Malik said the BJP leaders could not enter the villages of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat due to the sentiments of the farmers against the central government.
The Meghalaya governor also attacked the Centre over the recent killings of civilians in the Kashmir valley and said when he was there, no terrorist even dared enter within a radius of 50 kilometres of Srinagar.
Malik also said as Jammu and Kashmir governor, he was being offered Rs 300 crore for clearing two files – while one pertained to a businessman, the other was related to a leader close to BJP’s parent organisation RSS. He did not sign the two files after he consulted the PM who told him not to do so, he said.
On Goa, he has levelled serious allegations against CM Pramod Sawant and said there was rampant corruption. He said he was first removed from Jammu and Kashmir for pointing out corruption in that state and last year he, instead of the CM, was shifted from Goa for flagging corruption in the coastal state.
While Malik’s public fulminations have embarrassed the BJP on the one hand, it has given a handle to the opposition parties to attack the ruling party on the other hand.
The Congress has demanded immediate dismissal of Sawant as the Goa CM and his entire council of ministers who are directly or indirectly involved in the alleged corruption. It has also demanded that an investigation be ordered under the supervision of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and filing a case by central agencies such as ED, CBI, SFIO and others against the Goa CM and all others involved in the alleged corruption.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is seeking to expand its base in Goa, has also demanded immediate dismissal of Sawant from his post.
After raising so much dust, Malik now says he is ready to resign from his post if asked to. However, he added that he did not think it was required at the moment.

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