As former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to state that her fax to the Raj Bhawan in Jammu was “strangely not received” and Governor Satya Pal Malik remained unavailable on his phone, People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone claimed the blue tick on WhatsApp to indicate his letter staking claim at government formation had been acknowledged.
A day of political speculation, which drove anyone watching the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir to the edge of their seats, ended with dissolution of the 87-member Assembly after five months of Governor’s rule in the state.
The day’s developments forced all political stakeholders, including the state’s lone CPI(M) legislator M Y Tarigami, who reportedly met National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah, to take sides in the tug of war between former allies PDP and BJP.
The dramatic developments that unfolded on social media and WhatsApp began with news of the PDP, the Congress and the NC being in a huddle to form the government in the state. After failed attempts to reach the Governor, at 8.16 pm Mehbooba Mufti tweeted the image of her letter staking claim to form government. She tagged the J&K Governor’s Office’s Twitter handle and added, “hope you see it.”
— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) November 21, 2018
In less than 20 minutes, Sajad Lone tweeted a screenshot of his letter staking claim to form the next government with support from the BJP, and the proof of acknowledgment came with the blue tick, and “ok” from the Governor’s PA. He also referred to the broken fax machine in his next tweet, tagging the J&K Governor.
Omar Abdullah quickly quipped on the micro-blogging site: “J&K Raj Bhavan needs a new fax machine urgently.” Governor Malik’s phone remained switched off.
PS – In todays age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at HE Governor’s residence didn’t receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution. 🤔4/4
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
Although the official release announcing dissolution of the Assembly did not arrive until 9.30 pm, only minutes after Abdullah’s tweet, social media was inundated with pictures of the letter from the Raj Bhawan to that effect. The Governor, in a communique, stated that he exercised “the powers vested upon me” and dissolved the Assembly, a demand made by the NC and the Congress all along.
After all speculation on government formation ended, Mufti, in a series of tweets, stated, “In my twenty six year old career as a politician, I thought I had seen it all! But like they say never say never!…. In todays age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at Governor’s residence didn’t receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution.”
Former CM Omar Abdullah, quoting Mufti’s tweet, stated, “And I never thought I’d be retweeting anything you said while agreeing with you. Politics truly is a strange world. Good luck for the battle ahead. Once again the wisdom of the people will prevail.”
Raj Bhavan Jammu fax machine at work 😀 pic.twitter.com/RyLOhvQinc
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 21, 2018
Later, Abdullah tweeted a GIF of a printed sheet of paper from a fax machine, dropping into a shredder, to which Mufti, in her final tweet of the day, responded with the picture of a skeleton on a park bench stating, “Meanwhile those awaiting a response.” Earlier, Mufti took a jibe at the non-functioning fax machine and said, “On a lighter note, perhaps they should do away with the fax machines and allow official communication via WhatsApp.”
In a series of tweets, the BJP, which had allowed Lone to stake claim to form government, stated, “Keeping the security scenario of J&K in mind, can it afford horse-trading and instability? J&K needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties.”