Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state assembly on Wednesday evening after rival claims to form government from former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who is backed by the BJP.
Ms Mufti said her Peoples’ Democratic Party has the support of arch-rival Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress. The state has been under Governor’s Rule since June, when the BJP ended its ruling alliance with Ms Mufti. In a statement, the governor justified dissolving the assembly citing reports of extensive horse trading.
Ms Mufti tweeted her letter to the Governor, claiming she could not reach him through fax or phone. The former Chief Minister said she has the support of 56 lawmakers, including 12 from the Congress and 15 from the National Conference, which is expected to provide outside support.
Sajad Lone, however, did have a phone conversation with the Governor. “I shall submit the Letter of Support from the BJP legislature Party and other members supporting the government… as and when asked to do so by your Excellency,” his letter read.
In the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly, the majority mark is at 44. Mr Lone, whose party has two lawmakers, said he has the support of the BJP, which has 26 legislators and “more than 18 other lawmakers”. The People’s Conference was founded by Sajad Lone’s father Abdul Ghani Lone, who was killed by Pakistan-based terrorists in 2002.
The governor’s advice for dissolution of the assembly will pave way for elections in the state within the next six months. The tenure of the governor’s rule is ending next month, which will be followed by President’s rule.
Governor Malik said he reached the conclusion to dissolve the assembly due to “The impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and “Reports of extensive horse trading and possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators”.
The governor, sources said, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi two days ago and reportedly followed it up with a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah.