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The Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was dissolved on November 21, 2018. The official communique to this respect was issued by the Governor of the State Sh. Satya Pal Malik appointed by the BJP government in the Centre, while exercising its powers vested in him under section 53(2)(b) of the J&K Constitution and with the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, the membership of all the elected members (MLA’s) also comes to an end as the total tenure of the Legislatve Assembly is 6 years in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is intrinsic to understand that elections to the 87 seats of State Assembly were held in the year 2014 and the major contest during this point of time was among four major political parties namely PDP, BJP, National conference and the Indian National Congress. When the results of the elections were declared no political party able to achieve the magic mark of two-third majority as the PDP led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed got 28 seats mostly from the Srinagar and emerged as the single largest party, BJP got 25 seats mostly from the Jammu and emerged as the second largest party, National conference got 15 and the Congress got only 12 seats in the fray. This fractured mandate of the electorate led to hung Assembly in the State leaving no party to form government on its own. Since the PDP emerged as the single largest party so it could officially stake its claim to form government and later prove its majority on the floor of the house but deal and alliance struck between the PDP and the BJP to form government in the State on compromises on the souls of their basic political ideologies.
On December 24, 2014, the previous Chief Minister Sh. Omar Abdhullah tendered his resignation to the then Governor Sh. NN Vohra but he was asked by the Governor to continue as interim Chief Minister till formation of the next Government though President’s rule was imposed on January 1, 2015.
The PDP-BJP after giving a final shape to their Common Minimum Programme (CMC), on March 1, 2015, took Constitutional oath of office in a formal ceremony which was held in the Zorawar Singh stadium, Jammu University, Jammu, appointing Sh. Mufti Mohammed sayeed as the next Chief Minister for the full term of 6 years and Sh. Nirmal singh from the BJP Jammu as his Deputy Chief Minister.
It was unfortunate that the seasoned and the most brilliant leader with political acumen, Sh. Mufti Mohammed Sayeed passed away and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti succeeded to his throne and later was appointed as Chief Minister of the State with BJP as her alliance partner. This alliance due to various conflicts could not last long and proved to be a ruckus between the two which ultimately ended on Tuesday June 19, 2018, leaving the State and its people who repose trust in them, in lurch and haywire.
Since June the State is under Governor’s rule and it has been consistently speculating that there may crop up some new alliances between the political parties to form the popular government in the state and finally that day came when Mehbooba Mufti had released a letter on her twitter handle to stake her claim to form the government with the backing of her traditional rivals Congress and the NC political parties which together bring the requisite number of seats to 56 (29+15+12). She has also tried to sent the fax of this letter to Governor but strangely this is not received as the fax machine was not working at the Governor’s residence and he was also not available on phone.
The surprise came when the Governor of the State instead of responding to the claim of the Mehbooba Mufti to form government with the backing of Indian National congress and the National conference has abruptly invoked Section 53(2)(b) of the J&K Constitution and dissolved the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday November 21, 2018.
The decision of the Governor in such a haste manner is under cloud. What prompted the Governor to head for such a decision when easily the popular government as claimed by the Chief of the PDP could have been formed and save the State from the huge uncalled for election expenditures. As alleged on many quarters that there was horse trading going on and other usual allegations were being levelled on the stake of new alliance between PDP, Congress and the National Conference but those who are raising such allegations have forgotten that horse trading is resorted to by the political parties to woo one or two members but this is an alliance which is emerged voluntarily and is based on some compromise on minimum programmes as was also happened previously between the PDP-BJP. Such allegations are baseless and motivated by the vested interests activated merely to thwart the process of formation of popular government in the State by the new holy alliance.
The Governor’s decision to dissolve the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly is abrupt and in haste and is shrouded with doubts which requires detailed Judicial scrutiny to restore the Constitutional Democratic process of forming popular government in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
November 23, 2018