Satya Pal Malik, first politician to become J&K Governor in five decades

SRINAGAR: Satya Pal Malik, who today became the first career politician in five decades to be sworn in as Jammu and Kashmir governor, has worked with parties of all hues in his nearly 50-year career.

Malik, 72, started his political journey as a socialist student leader and went on to join many parties with contrasting ideologies. These include the Congress and the BJP as well as Charan Singh's Bhartiya Kranti Dal and V P Singh-led Janata Dal.

He was appointed as Bihar governor on October 4, 2017.

The position of governor of Jammu and Kashmir has been a domain of retired civil servants, diplomats, police officers and Army generals since 1967, with the situation in the Valley turning from bad to worse with intermittent periods of calm.

Before Malik, politician Karan Singh had held the governor's post from 1965 to 1967. Before this, Singh was 'Sadar-e-Riyasat' after the state was annexed with Indian union.

The appointment of Malik, who had been a part of the V P Singh cabinet at the Centre and worked with former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, may also be seen in the light of the changing political scenario, say analysts.

His appointment comes amid talks of disgruntled elements in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joining hands with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), besides the upcoming local body elections in the state.

Inspired by Ram Manohar Lohia, Malik started his political career as a student leader in Meerut University and became an MLA of Charan Singh's Bhartiya Kranti Dal from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh in 1974.

He joined the Congress in 1984 and became a Rajya Sabha member, but resigned three years later in the backdrop of Bofors scam. He switched to the V P Singh-led Janta Dal in 1988 and became a Member of Parliament from Aligarh on its ticket in 1989.

In 2004, Malik joined the BJP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections, losing to former prime minister Charan Singh's son Ajit Singh.

Before becoming the Bihar governor, he was in-charge of BJP's Kisan Morcha.

Malik had also served as the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Tourism and held many important positions in central and Uttar Pradesh governments.

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