GC Murmu Who Faced Heat Over Polls, 4G, Resigns As J&K Lt Governor

Manoj Sinha, 61, has been a Lok Sabha MP and a member of the BJP's top leadership panel, the national council.

The Comptroller and Auditor General is a constitutional post and cannot be left vacant (File)

New Delhi:

GC Murmu, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu Kashmir, is the front-runner for the post of the country's new auditor, NDTV has learnt. Mr Murmu on Wednesday resigned from his post in Jammu and Kashmir and Manoj Sinha has been appointed as his successor, said a statement from President Ram Nath Kovind's office.    

"The President has accepted the resignation of Shri Girish Chandra Murmu as Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. The President has been pleased to appoint Shri Manoj Sinha to be the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office vice Shri Girish Chandra Murmu (sic)," read the statement

The post of the Comptroller and Auditor General is expected to fall vacant this week as incumbent Rajiv Mehrishi turns 65. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is a constitutional post and cannot be left vacant.

"Rajiv Mehrishi is turning 65 on August 8. That is why the government is in a hurry to look for a replacement," a senior bureaucrat in the Cabinet secretariat told NDTV.

Mr Murmu's resignation comes days after a controversy over media reports quoting him that elections in the union territory can be held after the ongoing delimitation exercise. Elections have not been held in Jammu and Kashmir in the two years since the elected government collapsed, with the poll body citing security concerns.

Reacting to the reports, the Election Commission had, in a strongly-worded statement, said that decisions on timing of elections could only be made by it.

The GC Murmu-led J&K administration has also faced controversy over its opposition to restore 4G internet services in the union territory. It has cited increased terror activity as the reason behind its move in the Supreme Court in response to petitions seeking restoration of high-speed internet.

Mr Murmu, a 1985-batch Gujarat cadre officer, worked with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, the official said. After Mr Modi became the Prime Minister, the officer joined the Union Finance Ministry. He became part of the expenditure department as a joint secretary.

The senior bureaucrat was expected to retire on November 30 last year. But before that, he was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir after the state was bifurcated into two union territories in October.

Last year, on August 5, the Centre ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under the Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. In October, after the bifurcation was implemented, Mr Murmu was appointed as the first Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.