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New Delhi Correspondent
The Governor of militancy-hit Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday night dissolved the state legislative assembly two years ahead of its tenure amidst efforts for fresh alignment among major political forces to form a new government five months after the fall of the People’s Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party coalition dispensation.
The dissolution of the assembly, formed after the elections in 2014 produced a fractured mandate and saw the installation of a PDP-BJP regime headed by Mehbooba Mufti, the state’s first woman chief minister, capped a day-long political drama and came shortly after Mufti staked claim to form a new government claiming the support of her arch political rival National Conference headed by Omar Abdullah and the Congress party.

Mufti, who had headed the earlier government in alliance with the BJP for two and half years before the saffron party walked out in June this year, this time claimed the support of 56 legislators in the 87-member state assembly (with the majority mark being 22) which had been kept in suspended animation since the fall of the PDP-BJP government.

Mehbooba Mufti staked her claim to form the new government by posting a letter to that effect addressed to the Governor on her Twitter handle after she claimed that her efforts to fax the letter to the Governor’s office came acropper as “strangely the fax is not received.”

 

Separately, Sajjad Ghani Lone-headed People’s Conference, a small regional party with just two legislators, also staked claim on Wednesday to form government claiming the support of 25 BJP legislators and 18 from other parties.

In the dissolved assembly, PDP had 28 legislators followed by BJP (25), National Conference (14) , Congress (12) and other smaller parties and independents (7). One seat was vacant.

The Congress party had in the past partnered the National Conference in 2002-8 and with the Mufti-led PDP in 2009-14 to form government.

 

The BJP-PDP coalition government after the 2014 assembly polls fell a couple of days after the Indian government decided to resume anti-militancy operations which were halted for the month of Ramzan this year, heralding a new phase of political uncertainty in India’s most sensitive state wracked by almost three decades of militancy.

 

In dissolving the assembly, Governor Malik cited four reasons (1) the impossibility of forming a stable government in the state by the coming together of political parties with opposing ideologies, (2) allegations of horse-trading to secure the support of legislators, (3) serious doubts about the longevity of any coalition arrangement with competing claims of majority and (4) the fragile security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.