J&K Assembly dissolution: Mehbooba Mufti checks rebellion in PDP camp with abortive bid to form government

The National Conference (NC) and Congress have slammed Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik over the dissolution of the state Assembly. However, the statements of the two parties in the aftermath of the decision have raised doubts on whether the grand alliance of the NC, Congress and PDP would have lasted for long in the state.

The decision of former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to stake claim for government formation has, however, prevented a split in her party and could even notch up the electoral prospects of the PDP.

The governor dissolved the Assembly after claiming that he had received reports of horse-trading, and expressed fears that such a government would not have been stable. Following this, former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the PDP's proposal to form the government was "only at a suggestion stage."

“There was no final decision on the formation of the government. We had sought a meeting on 23 November on the suggestion,” said Azad.

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

However, the abortive bid by Mufti to form the government has given her party a leg up in the state. Mufti wrote a letter to the governor claiming the support of both the Congress and NC for government formation, even when the other two parties had said that the final shape of the coalition government had not been worked out.

On Wednesday, senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari was not forthcoming about the details which had been worked out on the formation of an alliance.

Though Bukhari was believed to have met Abdullah to discuss the alliance, he said, “It was an absolutely non-political meeting. I had called on him on Eid-e-Milad-un Nabi to wish him.” He, however, said that the NC, Congress and PDP have agreed to form the coalition to defend the special identity of the state “politically and legally.”

However, Mufti's claim to form the government has checked the rebellion within the PDP, and has also given the party ammunition to take on the BJP.

PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir, in response to a tweet on the dissolution of the Assembly, described the action of the governor as an “unconstitutional move in haste that is nothing but abuse of constitutional powers.”

Abdullah said that the NC's support to the PDP helped the latter party. “People were telling us that we were giving a new life to the PDP. We knew that the support to the PDP would have caused a major loss to the NC, but we set aside the interests of our party and thought about the interests of our state only,” he said.

The claim for government formation will also make the NC’s attacks on the PDP for running an alliance with the BJP less convincing.

Instead, the flurry of activity both prior to and after the dissolution of the Assembly has thrown up a new political alignment in the state. It is for the first time that two regional rival parties, NC and PDP, have come together. In the wake of a tie-up between the BJP and the People’s Conference and the saffron party’s inroads in Kashmir, the new rallying slogan for political parties in the state seems to be to preserve Jammu and Kashmir's special political status, and also keep the BJP away from power.

Congress state vice-president GN Monga said that the party "will fight to preserve the special status of the state." He asserted, "We will never allow the BJP to make inroads in the state. We will fight for the protection of Article 35A, as it was the Congress which gave the provision to the state.”

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Updated Date: Nov 22, 2018 20:35:49 IST

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