New Delhi: Kerala BJP chief P S Sreedharan Pillai has been appointed as the Governor of Mizoram by President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday.
According to a statement released by the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu and former defence secretary Radha Krishna Mathur have been appointed as the new Lt Governors of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh respectively. The incumbent governor of the undivided J&K, Satya Pal Malik, has been moved to Goa. Malik will take over charge in Goa where Mridula Sinha is serving.
While Murmu was set to retire from service in November this year, Mathur retired from the Central Information Commission (CIC) in November last year.
The two Union Territories of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh will come into existence on October 31.
The Modi government had on August 5 abrogated provisions of Article 370 that granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into union territories.
Sreedharan Pillai, 65, hails from Venmony in Kerala's Alappuzha district.
Pillai rose through the BJP ranks after starting his political career as an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He is known as a veteran lawyer, author and columnist.
After the announcement, Pillai said the party has entrusted him with a responsibility and he accepted it.
Pillai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to him about the posting a few days ago.
"Party has given me a responsibility and I will take it. My tenure as BJP chief was was about to get over. The Prime Minister had a few days ago spoken to me about the posting," Pillai told PTI.
Asked about the new BJP chief for the state, he said the party will decide that.
"Mizoram is a place which has got similar geographical conditions like Kerala. I was not getting much time for reading and writing. I think now, I may get a chance," he said.
Pillai, who was the leading the BJP in Kerala when the state witnessed violent protests over the Sabarimala issue last year, said during his term vote share and party membership increased.
"The first challenge I faced as state president was the Sabarimala issue. Later we got nearly 70 per cent increase in vote share in certain elections. Similar increase was there in the party membership too. I am happy that I was able to perform the duties assigned to me," he said.
Pillai, considered a moderate, took charge of the party after the then chief Kummanam Rajashekharan was posted as Mizoram Governor in 2018.
He is the third Keralite to be appointed as Mizoram Governor after Vakkom Purushothaman (2011-2014) and Kummanam Rajashekharan who held the charge from May 29, 2018 to March 8, 2019.
Currently, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi is holding additional charge of Mizoram after Kummanam resigned to contest the Lok Sabha polls in May from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.
In an another order, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief and Union government appointed interlocutor to Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has been moved to Lakshadweep as the administrator, as per an order issued by the Union Home Ministry.
Murmu-Modi's trusted aide
Holding a Business Administration degree from the Birmingham University, G C Murmu is perceived as one of the most trusted serving bureaucrats in the Union Government. Before 2014, when Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Murmu, who hails from Odisha, was his Principal Secretary and was tasked to monitor all the prestigious projects of the state government.
On March 1 this year, Modi elevated Murmu as Expenditure Secretary from his earlier post of Special Secretary, Revenue, Ministry of Finance. Murmu is known for skills in effective implementation of government schemes.
Sources said that Murmu, who keeps a low profile, was hitherto handling several important assignments in Revenue Department and later in the Expenditure. As Expenditure Secretary, he worked in close coordination with the Prime Minister's Office as well as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Earlier PM Modi had appointed BVR Subrahmanyam as Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, much before the abrogation of Article 370, considered as one of the most important decisions of the Modi government. Subrahmanayam, a senior IAS officer of Chattisgarh cadre, had worked with PM Modi in his first tenure.
Sources said PM Modi had personally selected Subrahmanyam for the important role of the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir where senior IAS officer demonstrated extraordinary skills in handling law and order and overall administration of a territory which faced curfew for several weeks.
(With IANS inputs)