Srinagar/New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir is being brought under Governor’s rule, in all probability from Tuesday midnight, in the aftermath of the fall of PDP-BJP government and no political party staking claim to form a new one.
Governor N. N. Vohra on Tuesday evening forwarded a report to President Ram Nath Kovind on the collapse of the government in the State and developments that have followed it.
A Raj Bhavan release said that the Governor received a formal letter signed jointly by BJP state unit president Ravinder Raina and its legislature party leader Kavinder Gupta during the day on Tuesday, informing him about the withdrawal of support to the coalition government. This was followed by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s, submitting her resignation to the Governor.
Mr. Vora, however, asked her to continue in office till alternative arrangements are made.
The Governor, the statement said, spoke to Ms. Mufti and Mr. Gupta who was also the deputy chief minister in the coalition government to ascertain whether their respective political parties intended to explore alternative alliances to form the government of the State. “He was informed in the negative by both the leaders,” it said adding that the Governor also spoke to J&K PCC chief G.A. Mir and later had a meeting with National Conference (NC) vice president and former Chief Minister, Omar Andullah, at Raj Bhavan here.
While Mr. Mir informed the Governor that his party did not have the numerical strength to form government on its own or in alliance, the NC leader stated that there was no alternative to Governor’s rule and elections.
“After concluding his consultations with all the major political parties in J&K Governor Vohra has forwarded his report to the President of India for imposition of Governor’s Rule under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir”, the statement said.
As the tied worsened and apparently became "untenable" the BJP earlier during the day decided to withdraw its support to the PDP-led government, saying continuation of the alliance would have "gone against the national interest." Minutes after BJP's decision snap ties, Ms. Mufti met the Governor to submit her resignation.
Sources said that the Chief Minister was taken off-guard regarding the BJP’s decision. She was in her office at the Civil Secretariat here in summer capital of the State when she received a phone call from the Governor about the BJP’s decision to pull out of the government.
After a brief meeting with her close confidantes, she went to Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor and submit her resignation, the sources said. Later she called an emergency meeting of the PDP to discuss the situation threadbare and chalk out future strategy.
The Chief Minister was taken by surprise was corroborated by her predecessor and political bête noire Mr. Abdullah who told reporters here that she was sitting in her office “when they pulled the rug out of her chair”. Later in a tweet, he said, “She was cutting ribbons while the BJP was cutting her legs out from under her. How I wish she had left with her head held high & her dignity intact! She was J&K’s CM, not of the BJPDP”.
As the three year alliance collapsed, a blame game ensued with the former allies accusing each other. While the BJP launched a direct assault on the PDP, the former Chief Minister played the victim and apparently much more subdued in her attack.
Announcing his party's decision, BJP national general secretary and J&K's in-charge Ram Madhav said, "It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state. The party blamed Ms. Mufti for failing to take effective measures to address the "core issues" of the State. The BJP accused the PDP led government of "failing" to "reign in radicalisation" and held it responsible for the "deteriorating law and order situation, attack on freedom of speech and citizen's fundamental rights."
Though apparently caught completely unaware by BJP's move to pull the rug, Ms Mufti, tried to put up a brave face and claimed that she was "not shocked" by BJP decision to withdraw support. Raising the bogey of Article 370 and unilateral ceasefire, Ms Mufti subtly hit out at the Centre saying the "muscular security policy will not work in the state and reconciliation is the key." She reminded the Modi government that Jammu and Kashmir was not an "enemy territory."
Speculations that the BJP was looking at the possibility of ending the alliance gained momentum when the party high command summoned its state leaders, including deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta on Monday evening. However, the move to withdraw support was kept under wraps till Tuesday afternoon, when the party finally decided to take the call.
Around 11 am the party chief, Amit Shah, Mr Ram Madhav, Minister of State, PMO, Jitendra Singh met at the party headquarters in the national capital, where it decided to seal the fate of the PDP government. Mr. Madhav then called the BJP ministers in the state and told them that the party was withdrawing support. The ministers were then asked to resign.
Moments after announcing the decision to snap ties with the PDP, the BJP summoned a press meet, where it launched a scathing attack on its former ally. Mr Madhav said that the BJP had joined hands with the PDP to "respect the mandate" and in the last three years, it had "tried its best to work towards the state's objective of the coalition government - peace, development and progress in all the three important regions of the state, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir."
In a bid to justify the decision to announce unilateral ceasefire, Mr Madhav said that the announcement of ceasefire during Ramzan was not Centre's "majboori (compulsion but a goodwill gesture."
The BJP leaer then came out with a series of accusation against the PDP and its leader, Ms Mufti. "In spite of all our efforts, we find that the state government has not been effective in addressing the core issues of the state”, he said and added that the "security scenario has deteriorated causing serious concern about the protection of basic fundamental rights of life, free speech among others." Mr Madhav spoke the murder of Rising Kashmir's editor Shujaat Bukhari and claimed that the assassinationw was an "indicator to the deterioration of the situation and the extent of radicalisation."
Saying that the security forces did a "fabulous job" in containing the worsening situation in the state, Mr Madhav pointed fingers at Mufti administration claiming that the "primary responsibility of maintaining law and order, lies with the state which showed severe shortcomings."
For BJP, he maintained that the "national integration is paramount" and remained "non-negotiable." The BJP also accused the PDP government for "lack of development" in the Jammu region. Mr Madhav said that there was a growing resentment in Jammu and Ladakh regions over lack of proper development and progress."
Justifying its move, Mr Madhav observed that the "BJP members in the government tried their best to serve the people in the state including those in the regions of Jammu and Ladakh." He then went on to claim that the BJP ministers "faced a situation where the government as a whole has been less responsive and lacklustre to the needs of the people of these regions."...