Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to pull out of the ruling alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir has put Governor NN Vohra incharge of the state for now. A retired 1959 batch IAS officer of Punjab cadre, Vohra was the first non-Army, non-IPS candidate to be appointed as Governor of J&K in 18 years.
Before being appointed as the Governor of J&K, Vohra served as the Government of India's interlocutor in Kashmir from 2003 to 2008. As the interlocutor, he held wide-ranging discussions with both the elected representatives in the state and also the separatists in a bid to forge a common ground for the all-round development of the state.
Vohra has also served as the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Home Secretary of India, Defence Secretary of India and Defence Production Secretary of India.
Though appointed by the UPA government in 2008 and given an extension by the same government in 2013, his wide experience in Kashmir affairs has worked to his advantage and ensured that he retains charge of Raj Bhavan for the remaining part of his term.
Incidentally, Vohra has handled the responsibility thrice before during his 10-year tenure as the Governor of the militancy-hit state.
He handled a 178-day stint of Governor's rule in 2008 after the Amarnath land row led to the fall of the Congress-PDP government and then in 2015 when none of the parties in J&K came forward to form the government. His third stint of Governor's rule was in 2016 after the death of then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and before Mehbooba Mufti stepped forward to take charge.
He was set to retire in a few days but now with the turn of events he is likely to stay in the office till the end of Amarnath Yatra on August 26.
Vohra's role on current predicament becomes even more crucial in light of the Article 370 of Indian Constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir an autonomous status. Under its provisions, in a situation where an elected government is not in power, a Governor's rule and not President's rule can be imposed in J&K.
Any such change of power is still has to be approved by the President of India, as it did in this case.