G C Murmu. (File PTI photo)
SRINAGAR: In a surprise development, Jammu & Kashmir lieutenant governor G C Murmu resigned on Wednesday, exactly a year after the nullification of Article 370 in the erstwhile state and barely nine months after he took over the reins of the newly created Union territory. His resignation comes in the wake of controversies over his comments on restoration of 4G services at a time when the matter was in the Supreme Court and the Election Commission’s objections to his remarks on the timing of the assembly polls in the UT.
Home ministry sources confirmed that Murmu had put in his papers. It was not immediately known who will replace him in J&K. There was speculation whether Murmu could be the next Comptroller and Auditor General CAG with incumbent Rajiv Mehrishi being appointed LG, but there was no confirmation.
Though the reason for Murmu’s exit is not clear, TOI has learned that the Centre was unhappy with his recent statements to the media on both issues — the timing of the J&K polls and the restoration of 4G services in the UT. The resignation though was a surprise as he had given interviews on Tuesday and scheduled more media interactions on Wednesday that were cancelled.
The Election Commission had taken exception to the LG’s repeated remarks during media interviews regarding the time-table for polls.
Stating that any decision regarding polls and their timing is the sole remit of the EC, the commission had, in a rare statement against another constitutional authority, stated: “It would be proper for authorities other than the Election Commission to refrain from making such statements which virtually tantamount to interfering with the constitutional mandate of the Election Commission”.
Surprisingly, Murmu in fresh media interviews on Tuesday, again spoke on timing of the polls and even commented on EC’s criticism.
On 4G restoration, too, the issue had caused embarrassment as his statement on early restoration came even as the matter is pending in court and was not in line with the Centre’s submissions before the court.
A senior J&K government officer said he left for Jammu on Wednesday by chopper.
Murmu was to meet a media delegation from Delhi on Wednesday afternoon but it did not materialise.