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Assembly Dissolution: Governor triggers fresh controversy

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Says, neither Sajad nor Mehbooba had numbers but had he looked to Delhi, he would have been made to install Lone-led govt

Srinagar, Nov 27: In remarks that can embarrass the Centre, Governor Satya Pal Malik has said had he looked to Delhi, he would have had to install a government led by Sajad Gani Lone.

Malik had abruptly dissolved the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly last week after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference (NC) and the Congress. This was followed by another bid from People’s Conference led by Lone which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.

During a pre-convocation academic conclave of ITM University in Gwalior on Saturday, Malik said, “Delhi ki taraf dekhta toh muje Lone ki sarkar banana padhti…(Had I looked to Delhi, I would have had to install a government headed by Lone)”.

“Therefore, I ended up the matter. Whosoever wants to scold, can do so now but I am convinced that whatever I did, was right,” he said in his address after noted journalist Ravish Kumar had pointed out in his speech about faulty fax machine.

The Governor also took a dig at the Congress, PDP and the NC and said that if they were so keen on forming the government, they could have come to Jammu a day earlier and met him.

“It was an Eid (Eid-e-Milad) holiday and this is an auspicious day. Did they expect the governor to stand by the fax machine and wait for their fax?” Malik said.

“If PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and NC leader Omar Abdullah were serious about forming a government (by joining hands) in Jammu and Kashmir, they should have rung me up, or sent me a letter,” he said.

After dissolving the State Assembly, both NC vice-president Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti expressed happiness and claimed that this was what they wanted, Malik said.

“I returned at 4 PM from Delhi and I got a briefing from intelligence officials about the situation. I found it needless to talk to Delhi, because two days ago I had met them all,” he added.

The Governor said that without seeking any advice or direction or holding any discussion with Delhi, he took the decision of dissolving the Assembly.

Malik said that as per the State Constitution he did not have to take permission from the President or Parliament.

On remarks of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the NC and the PDP attempted to form a coalition government on the direction of Pakistan, he said that he cannot blame Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah because they were children of Sheikh Abdullah, who “chose India” and were nationalists.

“Mufti Sayeed was Indian and nobody can suspect his nationalism and no one suspects his daughter’s credentials as a nationalist,” he added.

The Governor said Lone had been saying that he had sent me his letter on WhatsApp and Mufti said she tweeted staking claim for government formation.

“I never knew that governments were formed on WhatsApp and tweet messages. Staking claim for the formation of the government are not made on WhatsApp,” he said.

“I was watching this all for past 15 days. I was confident that no one had majority. If I would have called one side, there would have been a major drama. There would have been use of money and it would have created a chaos,” Malik added.

Governor’s rule was clamped in the state 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.

Dissolution of Assembly objective, impartial decision: Raj Bhavan 

Jammu, Nov 27:  Having put Centre in dock with his assertions that he would have acted in a particular manner had he looked towards Delhi before deciding on the dissolution of the J&K Assembly, the Raj Bhavan spokesperson in an apparent damage-control measure Tuesday evening clarified that Governor, while taking the decision to dissolve the Legislative Assembly, acted in an “objective and impartial manner”.

“There was no pressure or any kind of intervention from the Centre in the entire matter and some news channels are misinterpreting Governor’s statement and putting them out of context to convey that there was pressure from the Central government,” the spokesperson said.

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