President’s rule imposed in Jammu and Kashmir

President’s rule came into force in Jammu Kashmir from the midnight of December 20, 2018, following the expiry of the six-month-long governor's rule.

President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation paving the way for imposition of central rule in the state, which was placed under the Governor’s rule on June 20 after the BJP withdrew support to the PDP government led by Mehbooba Mufti.

The proclamation was signed after the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the decision on December 17, 2018. After the proclamation, the powers of the legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.

The Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had on November 21, 2019 dissolved the State Assembly with immediate effect after rival alliances staked claim to form the government.

The dissolution was announced through a communiqué that was released by Raj Bhavan. The Governor cited four main reasons for dissolving the Assembly with immediate effect, which include:

i) The impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies including some which have been demanding dissolution of the Assembly; whereas the experience of the past few years shows that with the fractured mandate that is there in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties. The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government.

ii) Reports of extensive horse trading and possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators belonging to widely diverging political ideologies just to be able to form a government. Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process.

iii) Serious doubts about the longevity of any such arrangement where there are competing claims of majority.

iv) The fragile security scenario in the state of Jammu and Kashmir where there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces which are engaged in extensive anti-militancy operations and are gradually gaining control over the security situation.

Key Highlights

The governor released the communiqué of dissolution minutes after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti released a letter on Twitter announcing that she would seek to form the government with her traditional rivals, the National Conference (NC) and Congress.

The former Chief Minister and PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form the government in the state by saying that her party, which is the largest party in the assembly with 29 MLAs, had the backing of 15 lawmakers of National Conference and 12 of Congress.

Earlier, both NC and Congress had demanded the dissolution of the assembly to avoid horse-trading and possible poaching of legislators amid the emergence of the Lone-led front.

Mufti’s letter was followed by People’s Conference Chief Sajad Lone’s letter to the governor, in which he staked claim to form the government with the support of the BJP, which has 25 seats and more than 18 other elected members. People’s Conference has just two seats in the assembly

The majority mark required to form the government in the state’s 87-member assembly is 44.

Governor's rule in J&K

The Governor's rule was imposed in the state on June 19 for a 6-month period following the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government after the BJP withdrew its support.

Since the state has a separate Constitution, in such cases, six months of Governor’s rule is compulsory under Article 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, under which all the legislature powers are vested with the Governor.

The state assembly was kept in suspended animation so that political parties could explore the possibility of forming a new government.

The six-month tenure of the Governor's rule is scheduled to end on December 18, after which the state will be put under the President’s rule till it goes into polls.

The state went to polls at the end of 2014 and the Assembly's tenure was till October 2020.

The Governor has decided to hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is formed.

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