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J&K Governor dissolves Assembly after rival alliances stake claim to form govt

Jammu, November 22: On a day of hectic political developments, Governor Satya Pal Malik this evening dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly following rival claims to form the government.

The Governor passed an order dissolving the Assembly in exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Section 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

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The dissolution followed  rival alliances — led by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Sajjad Lone-led Peoples Conference — staking claim to government formation.

In a letter to the Governor, PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti said her party was the largest in the Assembly with 29 MLAs, and the Congress and National Conference had decided to extend support to her party.

“The NC has a strength of 15 and the Congress 12. That takes our collective strength to 56. Since I am presently in Srinagar, it would not be possible to call on you immediately and this is to keep you informed that we would be seeking your convenience shortly to stake the claim for forming the government,” Mehbooba, who is also the leader of the PDP legislature party, wrote to the Governor.

However, her letter was not received at Raj Bhavan. “Have been trying to send this letter. Strangely, the fax is not received. Tried to contact His Excellency on phone. Not available. Hope you see it,” Mehbooba disclosed the development on her Twitter handle. She, later, also sent an email.

Sajjad Lone countered the claim by writing to the Governor and staking claim to form the government with BJP’s backing. He claimed the support of 18 MLAs, besides the 25-member BJP, contending it was more than the required number.

Former CM Omar Abdullah turned witty at the development, saying, “J&K Raj Bhavan needs a new fax machine urgently.”

The PDP rushed its Member of Legislative Council Firdous Ahmad Tak, who was in Jammu, to Raj Bhavan with a letter written by his party president. He, however, could not deliver it before the decision on dissolution of the Assembly was announced.

He gave vent to his anger on Twitter: “Brutal murder of democracy. JK has been stabbed again, @jandkgovernor plays Delhi agent.”

Earlier in the day, arch rivals PDP, NC and Congress announced they were nearing a “mahagathbandhan” to form government in the state, which has been under Governor’s rule since June 20 when the former coalition government broke apart following BJP’s withdrawal of support to the Mufti-led coalition government.

The development came against the backdrop of the growing clout of the BJP in the state, which along with its allies was attempting to build a third front that would have excluded the state’s political giants.

Altaf Bukhari, a senior leader of PDP who was being tipped to be the chief ministerial candidate, said the three parties had reached a consensus to form the next government.

Source Tribune India

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