Is Satya Pal Malik eyeing a comeback into active politics?

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Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik seems to have become a new headache for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for regularly speaking out on the ongoing farmers’ agitation and other issues cornering the Union government.

Malik, who was the Governor of J&K and Goa before assuming charge in Meghalaya, has said that he is not scared of stepping down from his post if asked.

Referring to his recent statements on the three farm laws, Malik said, “The day they (government) tell me that they have a problem, I will not even wait for a minute to resign. From the very first day, I have spoken for the farmers. I was prepared to leave and join the farmers’ protest.”

He had also questioned the silence of the government over the deaths of farmers at the protest sites. About 600 people have reportedly died in the country’s biggest farmers’ movement, but not a word of condolence has come from the leaders of the ruling party, he had said.

Political experts feel that Malik may be eyeing a comeback into active politics in the Jatland, and could be a prize catch for the opposition if he parts ways with the BJP.

The leader with a Samajwadi Party background was a minister in the V.P. Singh-led government before the BJP roped in him to tap Jat votes and counter another stalwart, the late Ajit Singh, in western Uttar Pradesh.

Experts feel that the problem with the BJP is that it can’t afford to sack him ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh scheduled early next year, as such a move may further alienate the Jats who are unhappy with the BJP over the farmers’ issue.

Malik not only spoke against the government on the farmers’ issue, but also levelled allegations of corruption in Jammu and Kashmir in a video that went viral on social media.

In the video, Malik could be heard addressing a group of people, alleging that he was offered bribe to the tune of Rs 150 crore to give clearance to files related to a corporate house when he was the Governor of J&K, besides being approached by people with RSS links.

Malik said the government has been adamant on the farmers’ issue, adding that the farmers have been languishing at the borders for over 10 months and the government should listen to their demands.

In the past, he had also offered to negotiate if the government guarantees MSP.

Malik was appointed as the Governor of Meghalaya in August 2020. He assumed office as the 21st Governor of the state on August 19, 2020.

Malik has been a former Union minister and Parliamentarian, serving in many capacities in his long career both at the state level and at the Centre.

He was the 18th Governor of Goa from November 2019 to August 2020. Malik was also the last Governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, where he served between August 2018 and October 2019. It was during his tenure that the constitutional decision to abrogate Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was taken on August 5, 2019.

The Congress had questioned the government for not conducting an enquiry after Malik had said that he was offered bribe when he was the Governor of J&K.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge had tweeted, “Shocking revelations by Governor of Meghalaya. Will there be an enquiry on these allegations or this too will be buried as RSS leaders & ‘Suit-Boot’ friends of PM @narendramodi are involved? Yet another example of ‘na khane dunga’ really being a bland jumla.”

–IANS

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