With the dissolution of the Assembly, the situation is now back to square one in strife-torn Jammu & Kashmir. Governor Satyapal Malik has dissolved the Assembly following a series of dramatic developments and competitive claims to form the government by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supremo Mehbooba Mufti and Peoples Conference (PC) chief Sajad Lone. While Mehbooba Mufti has managed to get her rival Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress to support her claim, Lone has staked his claim on the basis of support from the BJP and some PDP rebels. The sensitive border State is now headed for elections in six months. In all fairness, the PDP-led grouping should have been given an opportunity to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly. A State that is being torn apart by growing militancy deserves an elected government to oversee administration and provide succour to the people caught in the vicious cycle of violence. The Governor’s reasoning for dissolving the House appears specious. He spoke about the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies.” However, it must be pointed out that the PDP and the BJP had come together to form the government after the elections, despite their ideological incompatibility. When the two parties that don’t see eye to eye on several issues concerning the State could run the government, there is no reason why the latest claim of the PDP-NC-Congress should be rejected outright on grounds of ideological dissimilarity.
It is presumptuous on the part of the Governor to assert that he could not allow an “unworkable alliance” the right to form the government in the State. Such an approach would foreclose all attempts to put in place coalition governments in the event of a fractured mandate. Political reactions to the Assembly dissolution have been on expected lines with the BJP welcoming it while all other parties condemned it as unethical and unconstitutional. What added further bitterness to the debate was senior BJP leader Ram Madhav’s insinuation that the two Valley-based parties — PDP and NC — had joined hands on the instructions from “across the border” after boycotting the local bodies elections last month. Such a formulation was uncalled for and irresponsible. In fact, the BJP has been supporting Sajad Lone who started his political career with a gun in his hand against the state of India and whose family members still support separatism. The Assembly elections, likely to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls in April-May next year, would hopefully herald a stable government in the sensitive State. The Governor’s rule was clamped in June following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government.