Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik again has rejected allegations that he was following orders from the Centre when he dissolved the state Assembly last week, reports said on Tuesday.

“If I was following the Centre’s orders, I would have to make [People’s Conference leader Sajad] Lone the chief minister,” Malik had said at an ITM University event in Gwalior on November 24. His comments, which he reiterated on Tuesday, to News18, follow allegations that his decision to dissolve the Assembly on November 21 was taken at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.

Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly came after the Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party floated the possibility of an alliance, claiming that they had the support of 56 legislators in the 87-member legislature.

At the ITM University event, Malik had said, “I would have gone down in history as a dishonest man. Those who insult me will continue to do so. I am convinced I have done the right thing.”

On Tuesday, Malik defended his statement. “Sajad [Lone] has the numbers. Delhi will obviously push for him to be chief minister,” he told News18.

The public relation officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Raj Bhawan on Tuesday issued a statement clarifying that there was “no pressure or any kind of intervention” from the Centre in dissolving the Assembly and that the decision was taken in an “objective and impartial manner”. “...some news channels are misinterpreting [the] Governor’s statement and putting them out of context to convey that there was pressure from the Centre,” the spokesperson said, according to ANI.

On November 21, Malik had denied claims that he had acted in a partisan manner and said that he had not received letters staking claim to form government from either Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti or Sajad Lone.

Both Lone and Mufti had claimed on social media that they had sent faxes and letters staking claim to form the government. Mufti had said her fax to Malik had “strangely” not been received. Lone had tweeted that his party had “WhatsApped” a letter to the Malik since the “fax [was] not working”.

On Tuesday, News18 quoted Malik as saying, “You cannot just fax or tweet and form the government.”

Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti praise governor

Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah praised Malik for rejecting orders from the Centre. “Leaving aside the fax machine fiasco, good to see that [the] governor refused to take dictation from Delhi, rather opted for dissolution of Assembly,” Mufti tweeted. “This could be unprecedented, given the story of democracy in the state.”

“My compliments to Governor Malik for not looking to Delhi [and] for not taking their instructions thereby stopping the installation of a government of the BJP [and] its proxies formed by horse trading, defections [and] use of money,” tweeted Abdullah.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the governor has exposed Modi government’s alleged “sinister design of installing an illegitimate government by horse trading and coercion”, PTI reported.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said Malik had done long-term damage to India’s interest in Jammu and Kashmir by dissolving the Assembly. “So, what Governor Satya Pal Malik is trying to do is really emulate his masters in Delhi who have done a PhD in flip-flop, U-turns, somersaults and the reality is that NDA-BJP government has no policy towards Jammu and Kashmir.”

Malik, who 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 – had claimed he dissolved the Assembly due to the threat of “horse trading” and the impossibility of parties with “opposing political ideologies” forming a stable government.

Governor’s rule is set to end on December 19.