What just happened in Jammu and Kashmir?

Jammu and Kashmir elections

The very much talked about Jammu and Kashmir is in the headlines again. The Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday dissolved the State Assembly amidst contrasting claims of forming a government by Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP(Peoples Democratic Party) and Sajad Lone of PC (People’s Conference). Five months after the state came under Governer’s rule when BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) pulled out of PDP led coalition, the Assembly has finally been dissolved. 

Qweed attempts to explain the ongoing Political Drama. 

CHARACTERS:

Mehbooba Mufti of PDP (People’s Democratic Party)

Sajad Lone of  PC (People’s Conference)

Satya Pal Malik, Governor of the state 

Omar Abdullah of NC (National Conference)

Muzzafar Hussain Baig of PDP (People’s Democratic Party)

PLOT:

Jammu and Kashmir elections
Governor Satya Pal Malik, Source: Google

When it became clear that the former regional adversaries of Jammu and Kashmir are coming together to form a coalition that claims to have a majority including the members of PDP(People’s Democratic Party), NC(National Conference) and Congress, the Governor Satya Pal Malik within minutes dissolved the assembly. Another Coalition of former separatist leader Sajad Lone’s PC(People’s Conference) and BJP(Bhartiya Janta Party) along with some rebels of Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP was taking shape to form a government. The state came under Governor’s rule after the BJP-PDP coalition was ended. 

STORYLINE: 

To understand this issue lets get back to December 2014, when the result of state assembly polls were declared and the verdict was hung as no party in the valley had the majority in the 87 member Assembly. The parties of opposing ideologies PDP and BJP formed a coalition under late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of the PDP. 

Jammu and Kashmir Elections
Mufti Syeed,Former CM and PDP co-founder, Source: Google

After the death of PDP leader and Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed due to illness the alliance was discontinued. Mehbooba Mufti, daughter of the former CM after a meeting with Narendra Modi announced that they will continue the coalition and she was sworn in as the first Women Chief Minister of the state

Jammu and Kas
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti shakes hands with Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N Vohra after taking oath during her swearing-in ceremony in Jammu

The timeline of the events made the coalition look ineffective in the Valley. On June 20, Jammu and Kashmir got under Governor’s rule for six months after BJP pulled out of the coalition.

As if the above political drama wasn’t enough for the state, political developments in the last 48 hours got every major party on the edge in the state. 

Muzzafar Hussein Baig, Co-Founder of PDP, Source: Google
Muzzafar Hussein Baig, Co-Founder of PDP, Source: Google

It started when PDP co-founder and senior strongman Muzzafar Hussain Baig reflected that he was considering of joining the ‘third front’ led by Sajad Lone if it takes shape in the coming days.  

Now, Sajad Lone of PC, the separatist who tuned mainstream politician had only 2 seats with him but a considerable number of 25 MLAs from BJP joined hands to form a coalition with him. 2(PC)+25(BJP)=27 MLAs. It would still fall short of the required majority of 44 MLAs (Jammu and Kasmir have 87 assembly seats) but Muzzafar Hussain Baig’s declared rebellion was enough for them to have a 17 MLAs from the splitting PDP

Kashmir Elections
Sajjad Gani Lone of People’s Conference, Source: Google

Altaf Bukhari, a senior PDP loyalist, and supporter of Mehbooba Mufti said that  PDP, NC, and Congress were thinking of forming an alliance in Kashmir. 

Source: Hindustan Times

Since then, the real power struggle got visible in Twitter as the fax machine in Governer’s office was not functional. All senior party leaders of PDP, NC, and PC took to the social networking site and the political drama got unfolded in the public domain. 

 

Mehbooba’s current adversary Sajid Lone also used a snapshot of the ubiquitous messaging app of Whatsapp and claimed his government on Twitter. 

 

The above was believed to be first of its kind Government claim on the social media platform. 

Then a series of memes followed on twitter and Omar Abdullah of National Conference joined Mufti. 

 Mufti then replied his tweet with a skeleton waiting for the Governor’s response. 

The coalition of PDP-NC-Congress was initially believed to be formed to prevent the efforts that were underway to stop the Majority Government that Lone was claiming with the BJP. 

The Governor of the state then dissolved the assembly, within minutes Mehbooba Mufti claimed support of 56 MLAs from three political parties with her. 

Jammu and Kashmir elections
Omar Abdullah of National Conference, Source: Google

Omar Abdullah openly stated that Dissolution of the Assembly was not a coincidence. 

 The Governor Satya Pal Malik then addressed media and stated his reasons for the dissolution of Assembly.  He justified his decision in a Press Conference.

“I had been receiving reports from various quarters, including intelligence agencies, for the last one week or ten days that in efforts to form a government, the atmosphere has been made vicious. Money was being offered on a large scale. People are being threatened, some have received terrorist threats. How could have I allowed this ” said the Governor. 

Omar Abdullah also briefed the press on his decision to back PDP along with Congress. “NC backed PDP to save Jammu and Kashmir from uncertainty,” he said

Ram Madhav BJP in an interview to the news agency alleged that both PDP and NC boycotted the local body polls because they had instructions from Pakistan. 


 The infuriated Omar Abdullah then challenged his claim to be proved.

The senior BJP leader and RSS loyalist later took back his comments. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR JAMMU AND KASHMIR?

The Election Commision on Thursday said fresh Elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held within the next six months even as it did not rule out the possibility of holding poles there before the Lok Sabha Polls due next year. reported PTI(a news agency).

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