Srinagar: The day-long high-voltage political drama in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday culminated with the dissolution of the assembly after Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress.
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.
However, turning down Mufti’s claim that she had the support of the Congress, party leader and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that his party had not given any given to the PDP, adding that the talks of alliance were at “initial stage of discussion”.
“I said this afternoon also that it’s a suggestion and no final decision has been taken yet (on the PDP-NC-Congress alliance). BJP dissolved the Assembly even though only a proposal was made,” Azad told news agency ANI.
Speaking to IANS, he even claimed that neither the Congress nor the National Conference was interested in forming the new government. “We were not interested in forming the new government, nor was the National Conference,” he said.
“There should be elections as soon as possible. We don’t want a prolonged President’s rule in the state. Of course, it may take two-three months. But there should be fresh elections now at the earliest,” Azad added.
The Congress leader said while the talks for formation of a popular government were in infancy stage, the BJP government at the Centre was so worried that they dissolved the state assembly.
“It is clear that BJP’s policy is either we or nobody,” Azad told PTI.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz dubbed the Governor’s decision “unconstitutional” and suggested that Mufti should move court against it.
“Mehbooba ji should move court as what the governor has done on Centre’s instructions is undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Soz said.
“Mehbooba Mufti wrote to the governor only after the Congress and the National Conference supported the PDP and the governor should have given her a chance,” he added.
Soon after the PDP staking claim to form a government in the state, Sajad Lone, leader of the People’s Conference, which has one MLA besides him, also sent a WhatsApp communication to Malik from mid-air 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.
Whil the Governor’s decision to abruptly dissolve the assembly left the opposition fuming, the BJP welcomed the move saying that J&K needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties.