With the BJP pulling out from the coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, the state seems headed for Governor’s rule under incumbent N N Vohra, who is all set to get an extension. Late on Tuesday night, Vohra sent a report to the Union Home Ministry on the prevailing situation in the Valley and recommended Governor’s rule.
Later in the night, the ministry issued a statement, saying it has received Vohra’s report.
Earlier, Vohra received a letter jointly signed by state BJP president Ravinder Raina and Kavinder Gupta, who was deputy chief minister in the BJP-PDP government, respectively, informing him of the party’s decision to withdraw support to the coalition government. Thereafter, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation and the Governor asked her to continue in office till alternative arrangements are made.
The Governor also spoke to Kavinder Gupta and Mehbooba to ascertain whether their respective parties intended to explore alternative alliances to form a government in the state — both parties answered in the negative.
He also spoke to state Congress president G A Mir, who informed that his party did not have the numerical strength to form a government on its own or in the alliance. Later, Vohra had a meeting with National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who stated that there was no alternative to Governor’s rule and elections.
Soon after the BJP’s announcement, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a closed-door meeting with Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and senior officials of Intelligence Bureau to assess the ground situation.
Officials said the Prime Minister’s Office will put forward the proposal for Governor’s rule before President Ram Nath Kovind based on Vohra’s report and the MHA’s recommendations.
Unlike President’s rule under Article 356, Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir is invoked under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. It will be imposed for six months and gives additional powers to the Governor, including the authority to legislate.
After the expiry of six months, Article 356 will be come into force paving way for President’s rule. And during Governor’s Rule, the Assembly will be under suspended animation. Elections will have to be conducted within six months from whenever the Governor announces the dissolution of Assembly, officials said.
In case elections are not conducted within six months, the Election Commission will have to come out with reasons for not holding polls. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, the security situation could be an important consideration.
Highly-placed government sources said Vohra will continue as Governor after his term expires this month. They indicated that he would continue as Governor till the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra. The sources indicated that he has overseen preparations for the Yatra and should at least continue till its conclusion in August.
A former civil servant, Vohra was appointed as Jammu and Kashmir Governor in 2008 and got an extension in 2013.