In a sudden turn of events, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday passed an order dissolving the state legislative Assembly after rival alliances staked claim to form the government in the state, which has been under Governor’s rule since the BJP-PDP alliance came unstuck
The Governor’s communique came shortly after both PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone staked claim to form the government in the state. The six-month tenure of the governor’s rule ends on December 18 which will be followed by President’s rule. LIVE UPDATES here
— Naveed Iqbal (@NaveedIqbal) November 21, 2018
While PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti claimed the support of 56 MLAs, including those of Congress and the National Conference, PC chairman Sajad Lone claimed he had support of 25 legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party and 18 other independent MLAs. PDP is the single largest party in the state with 29 MLAs, however short of the 44 midway mark in the 87-member assembly.
Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to express her dismay at the Governor’s decision. Slamming the centre, she said, “who would have thought that the very idea of a grand coalition would give such jitters”.
“Since the past five months, regardless of political affiliations, we shared the view that the state 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, adding that “In my twenty-six year old career as a politician, I thought I had seen it all!”
In my twenty six year 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 @OmarAbdullah and @Ambikasoni4 ji for helping us achieve the seemingly impossible. 1/4
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
The Congress has termed the Governor’s decision as “undemocratic and unconstitutional”.
“Mehbooba Ji should move court as what Governor has done on Centre’s instructions is undemocratic & unconstitutional. Mehbooba Mufti wrote to Governor only after Congress & NC supported PDP & Governor should’ve given her a chance,” ANI quoted Congress leader Saifuddin Soz as saying.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah expressed suspicion on the timing of the governor to dissolve the assembly. “JKNC has been pressing for assembly dissolution for 5 months now. It can’t be a coincidence that within minutes of Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba letter staking claim the order to dissolve the assembly suddenly appears,” he tweeted.
JKNC has been pressing for assembly dissolution for 5 months now. It can’t be a coincidence that within minutes of Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba letter staking claim the order to dissolve the assembly suddenly appears.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 21, 2018
The National Conference has a strength of 15 MLAs and the Congress 12, while the People’s Conference has 2 MLAs, including Lone. The BJP is the second largest party with 25 MLAs.
Mufti staked claim to form the government a day after veteran PDP leader and Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh had announced that he would “seriously consider” joining a third front led by People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone.