Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state Assembly with immediate effect on Wednesday hours after the PDP staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress, followed by another bid from the two-member People’s Conference which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.
In a communique released by the Raj Bhavan, Governor Malik cited four main reasons for dissolving the assembly, including “extensive horse-trading and possible exchange of money” and the “impossibility” of forming a stable government by parties with “opposing political ideologies”.
Citing the main reasons in four points, the statement said, “The impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies including some which have been demanding dissolution of the Assembly; whereas the experience of the past few years shows that with the fractured mandate that is there in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties. The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government.”
“Reports of extensive horse-trading and possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators belonging to widely diverging political ideologies just to be able to form a government. Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process,” it said.
The third reason cited is “serious doubts about the longevity of any such arrangement where there are competing claims of majority”.
It added, “The fragile security scenario in the state of Jammu and Kashmir where there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces which are engaged in extensive anti-militancy operations and are gradually gaining control over the security situation.”
“The Governor came to the conclusion that, in this background, he has satisfied himself that the best course of action is to dissolve the assembly so as to provide stability and security to the state and hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is duly formed,” it added.
The dissolution of the assembly, which was in suspended animation since June 19, marked the culmination of a day-long high-voltage political drama in which Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti wrote to governor that her party, which has 29 MLAs, backed by the National Conference and the Congress with 15 and 12 legislators respectively intended to stake claim for formation of the government.
The collective strength of the three parties was 56, well above the required number of 44 for a majority in the 87-member assembly, Mehbooba, a former chief minister, said.
Things moved swiftly thereafter with Sajad Lone, leader of the People’s Conference, which has one MLA besides him, also sending a WhatsApp communication to Malik from midair staking his claim for government formation with the support of the 25-member BJP and “more than 18 other elected members” whose names he did not provide.
The Governor, who had declared days ago that the assembly would not be dissolved, then lost no time in going for dissolution invoking the relevant sections of the state constitution.
The dissolution paves the way for a fresh elections in the state amid speculation that it could be held with the Lok Sabha polls due early next year.
The six-month tenure of the governor’s rule ends on December 18 which will be followed by President’s rule. The state assembly’s tenure was till October 2020.
Governor’s rule was clamped in the state on June 19 for a 6-month period following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti after the saffron party withdrew support.