Snubbed for ‘Hamara Banda’ remark, Raina meets Malik twice in 24 hours

SRINAGAR: After being snubbed by BJP central leadership for his controversial remarks in which he described newly appointed Governor Satya Pal Malik as “Hamara Banda”, the saffron party’s state chief Ravinder Raina visited Raj Bhavan on Saturday, his second visit to Malik in less than 24 hours.

Raina, who had yesterday led a party delegation to Raj Bhavan, met Governor today as well, along with party colleagues Sunil Sharma Ashok Koul, his second such meeting in last 24 hours.

On Thursday, courting a major controversy, the state BJP president had called Malik as “Hamara Banda”, drawing heavy criticism from former alliance partner PDP and arch-rival Congress who termed it ‘unfortunate.’

In a video that has gone viral since, the MLA from Nowshera could be seen telling MP Jugal Kishore Sharma, “Aapko Humne Kya Bataya Tha, Hum Nahi Chahte The Ke Vohra Continue Kare, Woh Apni Hi Dafli Bajata Tha. Abhi Jo Governor Aaya Hai Woh Hamara Banda Hai (What did I tell you? We didn’t want Vohra to continue. He would harp on his own philosophy. The New Governor is a BJP man).”

The BJP had taken a strong notice of Raina’s comments. On Friday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had disapproved Raina’s remarks, asserting that the governor’s post is constitutional and has its own dignity and it is expected from a governor that he or she performs impartially without fear and favour.

Singh had also dismissed Raina’s criticism of Malik’s predecessor N N Vohra, maintaining that the former Governor had performed with distinction and maintained the dignity of the constitutional post.

“N N Vohra was an outstanding officer. As a governor, he performed with distinction and maintained the constitutional dignity,” he had said, adding that people of J&K appreciated the role of Vohra as a governor for 10 years.

Hours after Rajnath’s statement, Raina had led a 12-member delegation of party to Raj Bhavan, their first such meeting after Malik assumed office later last month.

On Saturday, however, Raina, along with Sunil Sharma—also a part of yesterday’s delegation– and Ashok Koul again met Malik, which is seen by his attempt to make amends with the new head of state, who, sources said, is not pleased with Raina’s comments.

In fact, the Governor on Thursday while chairing the maiden meeting of administrative secretaries, made it a point to mention that he had no political agenda.

Meanwhile, the Raj Bhavan official spokesman informed that the delegation welcomed decision taken by the Governor-led State Administrative Council in yesterday’s meeting to conduct elections to Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats in the month of October-December this year.

“The delegation members described it as a step towards empowerment of people at grass root level and raised with Governor issues relating to a significant number of roads, bridges and other development works. They apprised Governor about various issues relating to Kashmiri migrants, their rehabilitation, provision of basic amenities in their migrant camps in Jammu and elsewhere; and protection of their properties and temples from encroachments in the Valley,” he said.

“Governor assured the delegation that the execution of the development activities in the State will be closely monitored to ensure completion within envisaged timelines. He observed that he would himself visit Kashmiri Migrant’s camps in Jammu and elsewhere to take stock of their problems and urged them to work towards bringing peace and prosperity in the State,” he added.

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