Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor Satyapal Malik on Friday said that the state is headed for President’s rule but the state assembly will not be dissolved, for now. His statement comes amid speculation that efforts are being made behind the scenes to cobble together a coalition government by various parties to succeed the PDP-BJP dispensation that collapsed in June when the BJP withdrew support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP.
However, the numbers for a government formation don’t seem to add up for now. Malik himself is convinced that a popular government will not be possible. “I still do not see any government formation. No party has numbers so far and there is a clear message that nothing illegal will be allowed,” he said.
However, he justified the decision to keep the 87-member state assembly alive on the ground, saying that at least the MLAs will be able to cater to the daily needs of the people of their respective constituencies.
“I still don’t see any government formation from the present assembly but I do not wish to deprive people of their development. The MLAs can continue developing their respective constituencies and addressing the problems of the people,” Malik said.
Malik had reversed his predecessor N N Vohra’s order by restoring the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of members of the Legislative Assembly.
The fund had been put in suspended animation after the fall of the Mehbooba Mufti government on June 19. Malik also authorised legislators to inaugurate projects and infrastructure related works in the state.
Asked whether the state was heading for a presidential rule, he said, “It is a normal course of action that after completion of six months of governor’s rule, it will be followed by President’s rule.” The state is under governor’s rule which expires on December 19. Under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no provision for extension of Governor’s rule.
The state is under central rule since June 19 after the BJP withdrew support from the then Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government. No party enjoys a majority in the 87-member Assembly, in which the PDP has 28 MLAs, the BJP 25 and the National Conference 15. President’s rule can be imposed after the Union Cabinet, headed by the prime minister, makes a recommendation to the president to this effect following a report of the governor.
Under such circumstances, there is no need for the Centre to get the parliamentary nod for extension of the central rule beyond December 19. While the Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir is imposed under Section 92 of the state’s Constitution, the President’s rule is imposed under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.