Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday cited four reasons for dissolving the state Assembly. In a press statement issued in the evening, the governor said he took the decision “based on the material available to him from multiple sources”.
One of the reasons for dissolving the Assembly is the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies”, he said. In an unprecedented move, rival regional parties Peoples Democratic Party and the National Conference have formed an alliance along with the Congress. Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form the government on Wednesday. So did People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone, who has the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government,” the governor’s statement read.
Malik added that there were reports of “horse trading” and the possible exchange of money in order to gain the support of legislators belonging to different political ideologies. “Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process.”
The governor raised doubts over the longevity of arrangements where there are “competing claims of majority”.
The governor said he was not in favour of any government being formed in the state with “underhand defection”, ANI reported. “I would instead want that elections are held [and the] selected government rules the state.”
Malik said he had received complaints about party defections over the past two weeks. “Mehbooba ji herself complained that her MLAs are being threatened,” he said. “The other party said there is planning of distribution of money. I couldn’t have allowed this to happen.”
Another reason to dissolve the Assembly was the “fragile security scenario” in the state, he claimed. Malik said the state needs a “stable and supportive environment” for the security forces, who are gradually gaining control over the situation in the state.
Earlier on Wednesday, he told India Today that fresh elections in the state can be held alongside the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The term of the Assembly was to end in December 2020. “I went according to rules of the Constitution of JK [Jammu and Kashmir] which does not require me to take permission from the Centre,” he said in defence of his decision.
Malik also denied he had acted in a partisan manner and claimed he had not received letters staking claim to form government from either Mufti or Lone. Mufti had on Wednesday tweeted that when her fax to the governor’s office was not received, she staked claim via Twitter. In response, Malik said his office was closed for the day as it was Eid. He added, “Are governments formed through social media?”
Of his decision to disolve the House, he said, “I selected yesterday for the decision as it was a holy day. It was Eid. Election Commission will decide when polls will be held.”
Malik took charge of the state in August, two months after it was placed under governor’s rule following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to end its alliance with the PDP. Governor’s rule is set to end on December 19.
Code of conduct
Meanwhile, the Election Commission will examine whether the Model Code of Conduct can be imposed in the state even before elections are announced, the Hindustan Times quoted an unidentified senior official as saying. The commission had recently decided that in states where Assemblies are dissolved prematurely, the code will come into force immediately.
“Model code was imposed there [Telangana] as the elected government had dissolved the assembly,” the official said. “Here [Jammu and Kashmir], the case is different. Here the assembly could have been dissolved out of compulsion... There was no government... We will examine in the coming days whether the model code can be imposed in Jammu and Kashmir too.”