The Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Satyapal Malik on Wednesday night swiftly dissolved the state assembly, at the end of a day-long drama in which traditional political rivals People's Democratic Party and National Conference joined hands with Congress to explore formation of a new government.
On the other hand, People's Conference led by Sajjad Lone staked claim to form government claiming support of BJP and several dissident PDP legislators. The Governor swiftly put an end to all such machinations and speculations by dissolving the state assembly.
In a late night statement, the Governor said "The impossibility of forming a state government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies including some which have been demanding dissolution of the Assembly, whereas the experience of the past few years shows that with the fractured mandate that is there is there in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties."
It may be recalled that the BJP withdrew support from Mehbooba Mufti's government on June 19, and Governor's rule was imposed the next day. At that time, the Assembly was not dissolved, and it was kept under suspended animation. Six months of Governor's rule would have ended on December 20, after which President's Rule would be imposed in accordance with provisions of the Constitution.
There were reports of revolt among PDP MLAs, with Muzaffar Beg, once a close confidante of Mehbooba Mufti, hinting at leaving the PDP with nearly 18 supporters and joining hands with Sajjad Lone and BJP. This could have come as a fatal political knock for Mehbooba's party.
In desperation, Mehbooba opted to join hands with her political rival Omar Abdullah's National Conference and Congress, and wrote a letter to the Governor claiming the support of 56 MLAs. On the other hand, Sajjad Lone too staked his claim to obstruct Mehbooba's move.
The Governor played a masterstroke at night and abruptly dissolved the assembly, ending all possibilities of government formation. Clearly, the formation of an elected government seemed impossible without horsetrading among MLAs. Fresh elections seem to be the only way out from the present imbroglio.
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