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Parties slam J&K Governor, Malik defends move

PDP, NC, Cong rue ‘murder of democracy’; Guv claims opposing ideologies can’t give stable Govt

A day after Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the State Legislative Assembly to scuttle formation of a Government by any of the two alliances, the Congress and mainstream parties in J&K described the Raj Bhawan’s move as “undemocratic, unconstitutional and against the mandate of people.” The Governor has justified his decision to dissolve the Assembly and rejected claims that he acted at the behest of the Centre and the BJP. Former Home Minister P Chidambaram slammed Malik for dissolving the State Assembly, saying he is attracted to the “Gujarat model” of Government, not the Westminster model. “As long as no one staked a claim to form a Government, the J&K Governor was happy to keep Assembly under suspension. The moment someone staked a claim, he dissolved the Assembly,” Chidambaram said. “The Westminster model of democracy is outdated. Like in all other matters, it is the Gujarat model that has appealed to the J&K Governor,” Chidambaram added. Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said after the PDP, the NC and the Congress staked claim to form a Government, the Governor’s decision to dissolve the Assembly without giving them a chance to form a Government and prove majority “is the murder of democracy and must be challenged”. “Dissolution of Assembly in this manner is unconstitutional, immoral and unethical. A dangerous harbinger of things to come. Thank God founding fathers were wise enough not to provide for President’s rule at the Centre? Shudder to think what could have happened when BJP loses 2019,” Tewari said at AICC Press briefing. The sudden political development is likely to trigger permutations and combinations in J&K.  In the first such move, Sajjad Lone, who too had staked claim to form a Government with the help of BJP and rebel PDP MLAs, announced PDP rebel Imran Raza Ansari has joined his party, People’s Conference. Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice- president Omar Abdullah mocked the Raj Bhawan for not receiving Mehbooba’s letter for staking claim to form a Government. “Strangely the fax machine was rendered defunct when PDP chief Mehbooba wanted to fax a letter to stake claim for formation of a Government with our outside support and outright support by the Congress, but barely a few minutes later the Governor’s fax machine worked when he sent an order on dissolution of the Assembly,” Omar said at a Press conference. He said the Congress, the NC and the PDP had formulated alliance to defend Article 35A in January next year and safeguard the special status of the State. Rejecting claims that dissolution of the Assembly was done at the behest of the Centre or the BJP, the Governor said, “For the past 15 to 20 days, I have been getting reports of largescale horse trading. MLAs are being threatened and several types of underhand dealings are going on.” It is rare for a Governor to call a Press conference a day after dissolving the Assembly. “Mehbooba told me a week before that her MLAs were being threatened through the NIA. Another side said MLAs were being lured with large-scale money. Horse trading had started 20 days ago,” he claimed, referring to PDP chief Mehbooba. Had she given any side the opportunity to form Government, it would have created a bigger mess, he claimed. “The value system of politics would have been destroyed as it is happening in other States. I could not afford that,” Malik said. In his view, it would have been impossible for parties with “opposing political ideologies” to form a stable Government. “An opportunist Government would have been the outcome of this process. We never wanted instability in a sensitive State,” said Malik, adding that the NC, the PDP, and the Congress would have fought with each other. He said he wanted polls to be held and an elected Government formed. Pradesh Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir described the dissolution of Assembly as “unconstitutional” and accused Governor Malik of being partisan and working at the behest of Government in New Delhi. “The alliance between NC, PDP, and Congress didn’t suit BJP and the Central Government, therefore they directed for the dissolution of Assembly,” he said. “The situation could have been different if BJP could have staked a claim for the Government formation,” he said. He said the Governor kept the Assembly in suspended animation to “facilitate horse-trading” by the BJP and its allies to form the Government but when the plan began failing, the assembly was dissolved. He said the coalition NC, PDP and Congress would have been representative of the entire State. Former Marxist legislator MY Tarigami said the Governor took the decision in haste and ignored the constitutional spirit. “The Governor was comfortable in keeping the Assembly in suspended animation since June but when major political parties started consultations for the Government formation, the Assembly was dissolved in haste,” he said. “Unfortunately constitutional procedures were not followed. The Governor, who had declared days ago that the Assembly would not be dissolved, lost no time in going for dissolution,” he said. Another former legislator and Awami Ittihad party chief Sheikh Raseed said the Governor’s decision was unconstitutional and immoral but the reaction and response to the decision from the three parties who were prevented from staking claim for the government formation was also “disgusting and more posts…   Friday, 23 November 2018 | Khursheed Wani | Srinagar–

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