The Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dissolved by the Governor Wednesday night 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.
The dissolution was announced by Governor Satyapal Malik in a communique released by the Raj Bhavan.
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 People's 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. The state assembly was also kept in suspended animation so that political parties could explore the possibility of forming a new government.
In a series of tweets, Mehbooba said since the past five months, regardless of political affiliations, "we shared the view that the state assembly be dissolved immediately to avert horse trading and defections.
"Oddly enough our pleas fell on deaf ears. But who would have thought that the very idea of a grand coalition would give such jitters".
She also said in a lighter vein that "In today's age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at the Governor's residence didn't receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution." Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad 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.
In my twenty six year old career as a politician, I thought I had seen it all! But like they say never say never! Nevertheless, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to @OmarAbdullah and @Ambikasoni4 ji for helping us achieve the seemingly impossible. 1/4— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
Since the past five months, regardless of political affiliations, we shared the view that the state assembly be dissolved immediately to avert horse trading & defections. 2/4— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
Oddly enough our pleas fell on deaf ears. But who would have thought that the very idea of a grand coalition would give such jitters. 3/4— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) November 21, 2018
PS - In todays age of technology, it is very strange that the fax machine at HE Governor’s residence didn’t receive our fax but swiftly issued one regarding the assembly dissolution.