Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Wednesday. (File)
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state assembly on Wednesday evening after rival claims to form government from former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who is backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The state has been under Governor’s Rule since June, when the BJP ended its ruling alliance with Ms Mufti.
Ms Mufti said her Peoples’ Democratic Party has the support of arch-rival Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress.
In a statement, the governor justified dissolving the assembly citing reports of extensive horse trading.
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Spokesperson of Congress Abhishek Singhvi says Assembly dissolution is opportunistic and illegal.
The Jammu and Kashmir governor says there was no imminent reason to dissolve the assembly because “nobody came out with this horrible proposition that we will form a government.”
“The Election Commission will decide when the elections will be held. We are ready for that. We have had four rounds of municipal elections, (which saw) not even a casualty of a bird. We can hold assembly elections too, but that is not my job. They will decide the date and schedule,” he adds.
“Yesterday was Eid, there was no staff in the Raj Bhavan to even give me food. Everybody was on leave, nothing was working. She could have come a day before, nobody stopped her. But even if I had got the fax, I would have taken the same decision,” Mr Satya Pal Malik says.
“When I came to Kashmir, the first thing I said was I will not allow any government on the basis of defection… Jammu and Kashmir needs a stable government which can support the security forces,” says Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik. “It was not in the interests of the state, that is why I took this decision (to dissolve the assembly).”
“In the meantime, there was a lot of horse trading from both the sides. I was getting the reports. All sorts of pressure was being put on the MLAs. The situation was pretty bad,” Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik tells NDTV. “The security scenario here is the best at this moment. Insurgency has been cornered… There is no stone-pelting. Elections are going on so smoothly, without violence. In this scenario, such a confusion was not in the interest of the state,” he adds.
The Governor says nobody, out of both the factions, was in a position to say that they have a majority.
“Nobody approached me. They are saying we sent a fax. Yesterday was Eid, all the offices were closed. Nobody asked for my time, they could have come a day before. Even if they have given me in-person, i would have taken the same stand,” he tells NDTV.
“In the meantime, there was a lot of horse trading from both the sides. I was getting the reports. All sorts of pressure was being put on the MLAs. The situation was pretty bad,” Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik tells NDTV.
“The security scenario here is the best at this moment. Insurgency has been cornered… There is no stone-pelting. Elections are going on so smoothly, without violence. In this scenario, such a confusion was not in the interest of the state,” he adds.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik says since about five months, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were asking for dissolution of the Assembly. “They wanted the Assembly to be dissolved immediately,” he tells NDTV.
The political developments assume significance in view of the fact that the tenure of Governor’s rule is set to end next month, which would be followed by the President’s rule if no government is formed.
Jammu Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) vice-president Omar Abdullah will convene a press conference at noon today at the party’s headquarters ‘Nawa-e-Subah’ in Srinagar, according to the party’s Twitter handle.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal says the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “shameless power play” in Jammu and Kashmir is a “recipe for disaster.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for an important meeting with all its MLAs today, news agency ANI quoted a party leader as saying.
“We will decide the future course of action. We wish that the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are conducted along with the Parliament elections,” says BJP state president Ravinder Raina.
Election Commission to examine if the model code of conduct can be imposed in Jammu and Kashmir or not, after Governor dissolves Legislative Assembly, according to news agency ANI.
The Bharatiya Janata Party says the best option in such a scenario is to “go in for a fresh election at the earliest.”
“This assembly cannot produce a stable government,” it adds.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on its Twitter handle says the proposed alliance between the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) broke up even before it was formed. “They have taken contradictory positions on dissolution. One supports it and the other opposes it.”