JK Assembly dissolution: Blocking the Road to democracy

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The governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly minutes after Mehbooba Mufti backed by claimed support of National Conference and Congress and staked claim for Government formation in the state. Following this development BJP ally and People’s Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone also addressed a letter to the governor of the state and staked his claim for the Govt formation with the help of its ally BJP and claimed the support of 18 rebel MLA’S from PDP. Taking no action on these claims, the Governor issued a late night communiqué to dissolve the Assembly which was in suspended Animation since June 2018 when the BJP-PDP coalition government fell apart.

The attempts to form a coalition government had gathered steam in the past few days as the six months validity of governor’s rule was coming to an end. In the event of inability to form the government, Governor’s rule would have given way to the promulgation of president’s rule. The governor’s decision to dissolve the state Assembly reflects the enduring political uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir. It’s interesting to note that in the event of failing  of a coalition government, the Assembly is generally kept in the suspended Animation in order to give chance to the political parties to explore options for the formation of a popular government but in this case when such an understanding was reached among the three main political parties of the state, the state governor, in a much surprising manner dissolved the J&K Assembly there by blocking the road to the formation of any sort of coalition government. It is also beyond the understanding of many political pandits as to why on the one hand BJP staked claim for the Govt formation through Sajad Gani Lone but on the other hand welcomed the dissolution of the state Assembly.

One also fails to decipher as to why it took five months for Sajad Lone to stake claim for Govt. formation if he had 18 MLA’S from PDP, as per his letter shot to Raj Bhawan, and many people believe that it also exposed the designs of the BJP for trying to poach MLAs from rival parties especially PDP and NC. It is also interesting to see that none of the rival claimants knocked the doors of the apex court against the Governors decision to dissolve the Assembly.

A number of political experts believe that the dissolution of the Assembly could have been easily challenged in the Supreme Court as it seemed that a new coalition government was round the corner but none of the parties actually approached the top court. The BJP could never manage the magic number of 44 and its claim is believed to be nothing more than a mere hoax but the grand alliance of NC,PDP and BJP clearly had more than 50 MLA’s to prove their majority on the floor of the house.

Amid all these conflicting claims the buzz around is that the so called grand alliance was a mere understanding between NC,PDP and Congress to pressurize the BJP and inflict the dissolution of the state Assembly and seemingly the game plan to thwart the BJP’s onslaught worked at least for the time being. It was a prank and the centre pressed the panic button and in a knee jerk reaction, governor hastily dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly thereby effectively scuttling any efforts of government formation. The actual scenario, post the Assembly dissolution leads for the fresh polls in the state and all the parties are looking to go for the elections although the sudden dissolution may have momentarily broken the hearts of the BJP leadership and Sajad Llone as well. The BJP May well use the stereotype of the grand alliance of NC, PDP and congress in its stronghold Jammu region to gain sympathy and consolidate its position after an adventurous alliance with the PDP while as PDP leadership would have heaved a sigh of relief and would try to put its house in order while as NC and congress would be looking forward to gain their lost ground in the state.

Regardless of the political equations and alliances the surprising dissolution of the Assembly has drawn flake from many and the move has been severely criticized. The social media has not only been flooded with the comments on the dramatic turnaround of the events but a large number of people especially the youth have raised eyebrows for the Delhi calling the shots in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The sentiment on the ground has been strengthened that it’s Delhi which enjoys the luxury of making or unmaking the government in this trouble-torn state.

with the grand alliance of NC, PDP and congress succeeding in effecting the dissolution of the Assembly, it would be interesting to see if these parties enter into any such alliance for the upcoming assembly polls in 2019. In the 87-member legislative assembly, PDP had 28 members, BJP 25, NC 15, and Congress 12. Seven legislators were from other parties. All eyes are on the possible assembly polls in April May 2019 and as such the next 5 months would witness a heated political atmosphere.

(The writer is a columnist and Academic counselor IGNOU and can be reached at [email protected] )

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