Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday night dissolved the state Assembly after rivals – PDP of Mehbooba Mufti, National Congress of Omar Abdullah and Congress -- joined hands to form the government.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday night dissolved the state Assembly after rivals – PDP of Mehbooba Mufti, National Congress of Omar Abdullah and Congress — joined hands to form the government. The same was countered by Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference who claimed to have the support of BJP which has 25 MLAs and 18 other MLAs including PDP rebels.
However, the Governor said that he was exercising the right granted to him under the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and dissolved the House, two years before it was to culminate. “The Governor has passed an order in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir dissolving the Legislative Assembly,” the press communique signed by Umang Narula, IAS, Principal Secretary to Governor, said.
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Malik has cited “impossibility of forming a stable government” in the state given that the three parties have different ideologies as one of the reasons behind his decision to dissolve the assembly. He also referred to the fragile security scenario in the state to say there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces. Malik said that election was the best option in the current situation.
“Dissolution of the Assembly is the best course of action… to provide stability and security to the state and hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is duly formed,” the Governor said as he expressed serious doubts about the longevity of any such arrangement where there are competing claims of the majority.
The Governor’s decision to dissolve the Assembly last night came shortly after Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of the National Conference and Congress. The PDP leader said that she has a collective strength of 56 MLAs and thus be given a chance to form a government. Later, a separate claim to form the government was made by Sajad Gani Lone of the two-member People’s Conference. Lone, who was flying home from London, claimed the support of the BJP and 18 MLAs including PDP rebels from other parties.
Notably, two days ago, PDP leader and former deputy CM Muzaffar Hussain Baig had backed Lone saying he will seriously consider joining the third front if it was formed.
Reacting sharply to the Governor’s move, Mufti said that for the last five months, all parties shared the view that the Assembly be dissolved immediately to avert horse trading and defections. “Oddly enough, our pleas fell on deaf ears. But who would have thought that the very idea of a grand coalition would give such jitters,” she said.
She also thanked Omar Abdullah for the support. “In my 26 years old career as a politician, I thought I had seen it all! But like they say never say never! Nevertheless, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Omar Abdullah and Ambika Soni for helping us achieve the seemingly impossible.”
Meanwhile, the BJP has welcomed the Governor’s decision to dissolve the Assembly. The party has also convened a meeting of its MLAs today to discuss the future strategy. “Party welcomes the decision taken by the J&K Governor. Once again, NC, Congress & PDP hatched a conspiracy in Jammu & Kashmir that would have done injustice to Jammu and Ladakh. Will they form an alliance before elections,” BJP’s J&K unit president Ravinder Raina said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was delivered with a hung verdict in 2014 when the elections were held. The PDP of Mhbooba Mufti had emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats, followed by BJP’s 25 (all in Jammu region). The NC and Congress had won 15 and 12 seats, respectively. A few months later, the BJP and PDP had entered a post-poll agreement to form the government. But the alliance between the two parties ended earlier in June this year, forcing the Centre to place the state under Governor’s rule.