The day has not even passed yet and the state of Jammu and Kashmir passed from the possibility of one government to second and eventually of no government. The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly stands dissolved by the Governor of the state using the powers conferred on him by the Clause (b) of the subsection-2 of Section 53 of the Constitution of the state.
Before the dissolution of the Assembly there was a political drama which started yesterday with the announcement of Muzaffar Hussain Beigh that he was ready to join Sajad Lone’s People Conference. His statement was viewed as a possibility of government formation by the Peoples Conference with the support of the Bhartiya Janta Party and others. Expectations were that the Sajad Lone will stake claim for forming the government with the support of the MLAs including those deserted from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which he did but not before there was the drama.
As the 21st day of November, 2018 progressed the news started coming that the PDP, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and the Congress have come to an understanding and they might stake claim for forming the government. The news started gaining the authenticity as the day progressed further. The parties did reach to some understanding and tried to give shape to a grand alliance against the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
The president of the PDP wrote a letter to the Governor stating the same and circulated the letter claiming the support of 56 MLAs to the media. But these was a twist, the president of the PDP followed her first tweet with the subsequent one stating that the Governor’s Office is neither receiving the fax of the letter nor is there anybody picking the phone.
As this was going on and the PDP was trying to deliver the letter to the Governor, Sajad Lone delivered a letter staking claim for forming the government in the state to the Governor’s PA via whattsapp. In the letter he claimed the support of more than sufficient members necessary for forming the government. Though the numbers seemed clearly with the PDP but the letter of Sajad Lone raised the suspicion that there might be some more twist in the arm and there might still be a surprise.
The surprise came but not from Sajad Lone but from the Governor. The governor in a short while issued a press communiqué stating that the Legislative Assembly has been dissolved. The leaders of the PDP, JKNC and the Congress reacted to this order sharply and some even tried to make some satire out of it. According to them when the Assembly was not dissolved for more the five months even when these parties had demanded for it, why was it dissolved after the three parties decided to form a grand alliance.
This really was a day or two of political drama in Jammu and Kashmir and who know there is more to it in the coming days. So far we can say that the happenings of the day have dented democracy even further in the state. All the parties it is proved are trying to serve their party interests by hook or crook without giving a thought about the state and the predicament in which the state is.
In a democracy the will of the people is supreme which they decide by giving power to their elected representatives. In case the sufficient number of representatives had agreed to form the government, no matter whether from one coalition or the other and whether headed by Sajad Lone or Mehbooba Mufti they should have been given the chance.
Waiting for months together that some arrangement might be reached and some parties may give shape to a coalition to form the government and then dissolving the government when such an arrangement had been reached is something which makes everything hazy. It is not in the best interest of the state, people of the state and democracy.
In a similar case in Karnataka the Supreme Court had ruled against such behavior by the Governor of that state and ordered a floor test. In case of Jammu and Kashmir also the Supreme Court directions should have been followed. Instead most of the people allege that the decision by the Governor is politically designed to benefit the BJP or at least to prevent losses and humiliation to this party.
Majority of the people are of the firm belief that the decision has been made in a partisan manner and the Governor of the state instead of being loyal to the constitution and the democratic form of government has acted as a member of the BJP. Better thought process was expected from the institution of the Governor of the state.
The decision has harmed the credentials of democracy in more than one way and another way it has harmed is by giving a feeling to the people of the state that New Delhi is never sincere with them. Many people who always keep saying that the Central Government imposes governments and people on the state and those who try to go against the ruling party at the Centre are disposed off like the other disposable items.
They cite various examples to support their argument like the one of rigging of the elections in 1987 and treatment that was meted to late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his son Dr. Farooq Abdullah. Now they got another example to cite which is not in the interests of the state and the country. The NC, PDP and the state unit of the Congress have shown their loyalty towards the Indian state and by giving them the chance to form the government the state was not going to Pakistan.
The Legislative Assembly has been dissolved but the democratic institutions of the country which are duty bound to safeguard the constitution of the country should see the constitutional validity of such a decision. If there is a constitutional way to reverse the decision, it should be considered, else it should be enjoined upon all those people, institutions and authorities who work against the constitution and the constitutional arrangement of the country to desist from doing so.
Nobody should be allowed to erode the democratic credentials and institutions of the country. If India wants order to be established in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, she should show that order in the treatment of the central government towards the State. Otherwise, democracy in this part of the country is in a serious crisis.