Jammu and Kashmir: Why a fax machine at Raj Bhavan added to drama over government formation

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Updated: November 22, 2018 12:15:20 PM

PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was forced to release her letter staking claim to form a government in the state through her personal Twitter account.

Jammu and KashmirJammu and Kashmir: Why a fax machine at Raj Bhavan added to drama over government formation

If the political realignment in the state with Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti joining hands to form a government in the Jammu and Kashmir wasn’t enough, an innocuous fax machine has found its way to the centre of political discourse in the state in the last 12 hours. In possibly a first in the history of India’s politics, PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was forced to release her letter staking claim to form a government in the state through her personal Twitter account.

The development triggered political drama in the state which was rendered without a government after the BJP dumped Mufti’s PDP earlier this year. At the centre of the entire political drama that unfolded on Wednesday evening is a fax machine at the Raj Bhavan.

According to Mehbooba Mufti, the fax machine at the Raj Bhavan refused to accept the letter that she had sent staking claim to form the government. Mufti said that she has been trying to reach out the Raj Bhavan with her letter but strangely the fax was not received. “Have been trying to send this letter to Raj Bhavan. Strangely the fax is not received.”

Also Read: J&K government formation LIVE updates

“Tried to contact Governor on phone. Not available. Hope you see it,” she added and tagged Governor Satya Pal Malik.

In her letter, Mufti said that her PDP is the single largest party in 87 chairs House with 29 MLAs and she has support of 27 more MLAs taking the collective strength in her favour to 56. The National Conference of Omar Abdullah has 15 MLAs and Congress has 12 MLAs. The parties had backed Mufti’s candidature in a bid to thwart BJP’s efforts to form the government with Sajad Gani Lone being the face of the dispensation.


Mufti’s tweet was followed by her rival-turned-ally Omar Abdullah’s tweet who decried the technical limitations of the Raj Bhavan. “J&K Raj Bhavan needs a new fax machine urgently,” he tweeted.


Interestingly, Sajad Gani Lone, who was flying home from London, sent a letter to stake claim to form government via WhatsApp. Lone said that he enjoys the support of BJP and has the backing of 18 more MLAs. The BJP has 25 MLAs.

Also Read: Elections best option, says J&K Governor

However, the Governor opted to exercise his right conferred upon him by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution to dissolve the House. He cited impossibility of forming a long-lasting government with an agreement between the rivals PDP, NC and Congress because of their ideologies.

Later, Mufti thanked Abdullah for his support saying, “In my 26 years 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 Soniji for helping us achieve the seemingly impossible.”

Meanwhile, media reports citing Home ministry sources claim that the decision by the Governor was not based on the coalition of the NC, PDP and the Congress. According to the sources, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi before Mufti had staked claim to form the government. The Governor too had taken the decision on Wednesday, well before the claim was made by either party, they said.

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