J&K Governor dissolves assembly as Mehbooba Mufti, Sajjad Lone stake rival claims to form govt

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 21, 2018, 08.56 PM(IST)

File photo of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Dissolution of the assembly means the state will have to hold fresh elections in six months. 

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state assembly Wednesday evening even as former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone staked rival claims to form a government in the state. 


''You might have gathered from media reports that Congress and NC have decided to extend support to our party to form the government in the state. National Conference has a strength of 15 and the Congress 12. That takes our collective strength to 56,'' Mufti wrote to Malik. 

The PDP has 29 MLAs in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly — the halfway mark in the 87-member house is 44. 

Mufti wrote that she was tweeting her letter since the fax would not go through to the Raj Bhavan. She added that she had tried to reach Malik on the phone but that he was "not available".  




News reports meanwhile said Lone wrote in his letter to the governor that he was staking his claim after having spoken to the governor over the phone. 

Lone's People Conference has 2 MLAs in the J&K house including himself. He said in his letter that he had the support of the BJP's 26 MLAs and 18 other lawmakers. (It is not known who the other 18 MLAs are.) 

Wednesday was a day of hectic developments in Jammu and Kashmir. 

After senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said Tuesday that he was willing to join the Third Front — led by Lone and backed by the BJP — the PDP, the National Conference, and the Congress announced Wednesday that they were coming together in a grand alliance and would stake their claim to form a government in the state. 

The alliance was also expected to have stopped the PDP from splintering. (If the other 18 MLAs did exist, that is one area they may have come from.) A number of the party's senior leaders had been rebelling against the party leadership and were thought to have joined the Third Front.  

The dissolution of the assembly by Governor Malik now means the state will head to the polls within six months. 

Malik had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday. News reports earlier on Wednesday said the Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary had been summoned to Delhi and was likely to meet officials in PM Modi's office. 

Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor's Rule since June 19 when the BJP walked out of its alliance with the PDP in the state. Governor's Rule would have come to an end next month on December 19, after which the state would have come under President's Rule.