After political melodrama, J&K guv dissolves Assembly

After political melodrama, J&K guv dissolves Assembly

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Staya Pal Malik. PTI file photo

After a day of high political melodrama, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Staya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the state Assembly.

“By virtue of powers vested upon me in terms of Proclamation No. P-1/18 of 2018 dated 20th June, 2018, issued under sub-section (1) of section 92 and in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 53 of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, I hereby dissolve the Legislative Assembly,” a late evening order issued by Principal Secretary to Governor, Umang Narula, said.

The order came in the backdrop of hectic political drama during the day, where regional parties - Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) - supported by the Congress staked claim to form the new government in the state.

“As you are aware that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the largest party in the State assembly having a strength of 29. National Conference has a strength of 15 and Congress 12 MLAs. That takes our collective strength to 56,” PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said in a letter to J&K governor Satya Pal Malik.

“Since I am presently in Srinagar, it would not be possible for me to call on you immediately and this is to keep you informed that we would be seeking your convenience shortly to stake claim for forming the government in the state,” the letter reads.

The majority mark in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly is 44. Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was in suspended animation since June and state is currently under governor’s rule. On June 19, the BJP pulled out of its shaky alliance with PDP which had come into shape in March 2015.

Separately, separatist-turned-mainstream leader Sajjad Lone, supported by the BJP, also tweeted a letter staking claim to form the government. However, like Mehbooba, he too said the fax of Raj Bhavan was not working and he had sent it to the PA of the government on WhatsApp.

In the letter, Lone whose Peoples Conference had two MLAs in the outgoing Assembly, claimed support of 25 MLAs of BJP, besides 18 other unknown legislators.

Sources said PDP, NC and Congress had reached to a consensus for ‘grand alliance’ in the state to counter the right-wing BJP’s ambition to form a government in the only Muslim majority state of the country.

“PDP, NC and Congress have set aside difference to protect Article 35A of the Indian constitution, which grants special privileges to the people of J&K and prevents horse-trading. The BJP had started engineering defections in other parties for the furtherance of its political motives,” Mehbooba said earlier in the day.

Earlier, Congress party’s leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad had also confirmed that talks were going on among the three parties over government formation in the state.

Nasir Wani, senior NC leader and close confidant of Omar Abdullah also confirmed that the two parties (NC and PDP) “were talking to each other.”

Sources said behind the scene efforts to thwart the efforts of BJP to make Sajjad Lone as CM of the restive state, started gaining momentum after PDP co-founder and MP Muzaffar Beig  on Tuesday said that he was considering quitting the party and joining the “third front” led by Lone if it takes a shape in coming days.

Beig, the brain behind PDP’s ‘self-rule’ document, gave a veritable setback to the party by throwing his weight behind the BJP ally Lone’s idea of opening a new chapter in troubled politics of the state. 

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