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Governor dissolves J&K assembly after Mehbooba stakes claim to form govt

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Srinagar, Nov 21: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the Assembly even as former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti staked a claim to form the government with the support of the National Conference and the Congress party.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik

Minutes before the official order from Raj Bhavan came in, Mehbooba had tweeted a letter addressed to the Governor which said that she would be seeking an appointment with the Governor soon to stake government formation. Mehbooba's letter said that with the support of National Conference and Congress, they collectively have 56 seats and would like to form the government.

The majority mark needed to form the government in 89 seats Jammu and Kashmir assembly is 44 seats. PDP has had won 28 seats in the elections, while the NC and Congress had 15 and 12 seats, respectively.

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Earlier, Sajjad Lone, chairman of the Peoples Conference, has also staked claim to form the government, asserting he has the support of the BJP and 18 other elected members. The BJP has 25 legislators and the Peoples Conference has 2.

Governor's rule was clamped in J and K on June 19 for a 6-month period following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government after the saffron party withdrew support. The state assembly was also kept in suspended animation so that political parties could explore the possibility of forming a new government. The decision by Governor Satyapal Malik to dissolve the state assembly under the relevant provisions in the state constitution was announced in an official communique. The state is now headed for another spell of central rule beyond December 18 when the governor's rule comes to an end.

JK Governor statement:

The Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Satya Pal Malik, today issued an order dissolving the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. The Governor came to this conclusion based on the material available to him from multiple sources. The main reasons because of which the Governor arrived at this decision are :

i) The impossibility of forming a stable 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 in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties. The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government.

ii) Reports of extensive horse trading and possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators belonging to widely diverging political ideologies just to be able to form a government. Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process.

iii) Serious doubts about the longevity of any such arrangement where there are competing claims of majority. iv) The fragile security scenario in the state of Jammu and Kashmir where there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces which are engaged in extensive anti-militancy operations and are gradually gaining control over the security situation. The Governor came to the conclusion that, in this background, he has satisfied himself that the best course of action is to dissolve the assembly so as to provide stability and security to the state and hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is duly formed.

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