Peoples Democratic Party leader Imran Reza Ansari on Thursday joined the People’s Conference even as its party president Sajad Lone denied reports of “horse trading”. Lone, who staked claim to form the government with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday, described Ansari’s entry as an “emotional homecoming”.

Ansari was one of several dissident PDP legislators to have publicly denounced party chief Mehbooba Mufti for promoting nepotism in the outfit.

Ansari joined the People’s Conference a day after the PDP formed an alliance with its regional rival, the National Conference, and the Congress, following which Mufti staked claim to form the government. However, soon after both Lone and Mufti staked claim to form the government, Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Assembly on Wednesday night, citing reports of “horse trading” and the possible exchange of money in order to gain the support of legislators from different political ideologies. “Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process,” Malik had said.

Lone on Thursday denied reports of “horse trading” and said MLAs had a right to make their own decisions, NDTV reported. “Omar [Abdullah], [Mehbooba] Mufti also know that MLAs are not cattle in shackles,” said Lone. “The MLAs have a right and if they collectively get together – which is permitted by the Constitution – they can make their own decisions.”

Lone also accused Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah of practising dynastic politics and claimed they were out of touch with their own MLAs. “These aristocrats have not talked to a single MLA of theirs, their MLAs are issuing statements against each other,” he said, describing the two leaders as an “emperor” and “empress”.

Meanwhile, the PDP on Thursday said the party is yet to decide if it should challenge the governor’s dissolution of the Assembly in court. Party spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said the party has neither met formally nor held a meeting “to build any consensus on the issue of approaching the court”.

State Congress President GA Mir earlier said the PDP, which is the single largest party in the state with 29 seats, was considering legal recourse to challenge Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly.

Abdullah added that the decision to challenge the dissolution order lies with the PDP, Greater Kashmir reported. “We never sent any letter to the governor, the primary decision to challenge the governor rests with the PDP,” he said.

Lone reiterated that Mufti should approach court and seek an order to revive the Assembly if she felt slighted by the governor’s notification to dissolve it. “We, hopefully, will prove we have the numbers, on the floor of the assembly,” tweeted Lone.