J&K dissolution anti-democratic

J&K dissolution anti-democratic

J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik addresses the media in Jammu on November 22, 2018. PTI

The dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik was politically improper and constitutionally wrong. It was an anti-democratic act, because the governor denied political parties — the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the National Conference (NC) and the Congress — their natural and legitimate right to form a government. The assembly had been kept in suspended animation after chief minister Mehbooba Mufti resigned in June when the BJP withdrew its support to her coalition government. It is the duty of the governor to allow parties to explore the possibility of formation of a government in such situations because governor’s rule is not a democratic option. Mufti staked her claim to form a government on Wednesday, and the three parties together had a clear majority in the House. The governor’s sudden decision was intended to thwart the claim immediately.

The governor obviously acted at the bidding of the Centre. The BJP was making moves to form a government in the state by pushing People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone upfront and splitting the PDP. The assembly had been kept in suspended animation just to pursue this possibility. The PDP claim shut out this possibility and so the assembly was dissolved. The governor’s reasons for his decision are untenable. He said that a government of “parties with opposing political ideologies’’ would be unstable. Such a criterion would rule out the formation of most coalition governments. Was not the PDP-BJP government a coalition of “opposing political ideologies”? The governor also said that there would be “horse-trading,’’ but then the assembly should have been dissolved in June itself. These are poor and self-serving excuses and the Supreme Court had specifically rejected them in its 2006 order which held the dissolution of the Bihar assembly by then governor Buta Singh illegal and unconstitutional.

The governor made a very partisan decision, and both the procedure and intentions were wrong. He went to the ridiculous event of claiming that he did not receive Mehbooba Mufti’s letter as the fax machine in the governor’s house was not working, and she had to send the letter by WhatsApp. The governor’s wrong was compounded by BJP leader Ram Madhav’s claim that the three parties decided to form an alliance on instructions from Pakistan. When challenged, the statement was withdrawn but that shows the BJP was up to deliberate mischief in the first place. Such irresponsible statements are in line with the BJP’s habit of dubbing all its opponents pro-Pakistan and anti-national. This will have dangerous consequences in Kashmir. The persistent denial of the democratic rights of Kashmiris through decades has aggravated the situation there. Governor Malik’s action was also a denial of parties’, and hence the people’s, democratic rights. 

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