Srinagar/Nov 22: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik today emphatically defended his decision to dissolve the state assembly – after keeping it in suspended animation for months – just after two alliances staked claim to power last evening.
The governor responded to Mehbooba Mufti’s allegation that he didn’t receive her calls and fax staking claim to power. “Yesterday was Eid. There was no one in the Raj Bhawan to even give me food. She could have come to me the day before,” he said.
Malik added, “Even if I had got the fax, my decision would have been the same.” He said he had decided not to allow any government on the basis of “defections or loose arrangements”.
Responding to his explanation of the non-functional fax machine, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah shot back: “If there was no staff, then who typed his letter dissolving the assembly? We also had Eid, there were people at our home.” He added: “I hope the staff at Raj Bhawan pull up their socks, so the governor is not inconvenienced this way.”
Mehbooba Mufti had written to the governor that her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the support of 56 lawmakers, including 12 from the Congress and 15 from the National Conference. That placed her alliance comfortably ahead of the majority mark of 44 in the 87-member assembly. The second claimant to power was Sajad Lone, who has two lawmakers. The People’s Conference leader claimed the support of the BJP’s 25 legislators and “more than 18 other lawmakers”.