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.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has passed an order dissolving the state Legislative Assembly. pic.twitter.com/TirFfZfTCs
Former J&K CM and President of PDP Mehbooba Mufti writes to J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik to stake the claim for forming govt in the state. The letter reads, "You might have gathered from media reports that Congress and NC have decided to extend support to our party to form govt." pic.twitter.com/F7coNfKO44
JKNC has been pressing for assembly dissolution for 5 months now. It can’t be a coincidence that within minutes of Mehbooba Mufti Sahiba letter staking claim the order to dissolve the assembly suddenly appears.
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.