NN Vohra recommends Governor's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir as PDP-BJP alliance collapses

Under the provision of Section 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, Governor's Rule is imposed for six months, but only after the consent of the President of India.

NN Vohra recommends Governor's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir as PDP-BJP alliance collapses
File photo (PTI)

New Delhi/Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra on Tuesday forwarded his report to President Ram Nath Kovind for the imposition of Governor's rule in the state after the PDP-BJP coalition collapsed and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation.

The report was sent to the President after Vohra held consultations with Mehbooba, BJP state chief Ravinder Raina, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah and Congress state president GA Mir. 

"The Governor received a letter by fax, jointly signed by Raina and Kavinder Gupta, state BJP president and leader of BJP Legislature Party respectively, about withdrawing BJP's support to the coalition government," a Raj Bhawan spokesperson said, as per PTI. He added that Mehbooba tendered her resignation thereafter, but the Governor has asked her to continue in office till alternative arrangements are made.

"The Governor spoke to Kavinder Gupta and Mehbooba Mufti to ascertain whether their respective parties intended to explore alternative alliances to form a government in the state and was informed in the negative by both the leaders. He also spoke to Mir, who informed that his party did not have the numerical strength to form a government on its own or in an alliance," the spokesperson said.

Later, the Governor had a meeting with Omar, who stated that there was no alternative to Governor's rule and elections. "After concluding his consultations with all the major political parties, Governor Vohra has forwarded his report to the President for the imposition of Governor's rule under Section 92 of the Constitution of J&K," he further said.

The state has come under the Governor's rule on seven occasions before in the past four decades.

In all states of India, the state government's failure results in President's rule. The process is slightly more nuanced in J&K where not the President's but Governor's rule is imposed. Under the provision of Section 92 of the J&K Constitution, Governor's rule is imposed for six months, but only after the consent of the President of India. The Constitution of India grants special status to J&K among Indian states, and it is the only state in India to have a separate Constitution and regulations specific to it.

The President's rule in other states of India is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution of India. Under the Governor's rule, the state Assembly is either kept in suspended animation or dissolved. If it is not possible to restore the state machinery before the expiry of the six-month period, the provision is extended. Article 370 of the Constitution of India states that Parliament of India and the Union government jurisdiction extends over limited matters with respect to state of J&K and in all other matters not specifically vested in federal governments, actions have to be supported by the state legislature.

The three-year J&K government collapsed on Tuesday with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulling out of its alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP). BJP general secretary Ram Madhav made the announcement after the J&K ministers were summoned to New Delhi for emergency consultations. A few hours later, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to the Governor. 

"It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state," Madhav told reporters at a press conference. The BJP blamed the PDP for failing to improve the security conditions in the Kashmir Valley. Madhav cited last week's killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar in the highly secured area of Press Enclave by unidentified gunmen. The same day - two days before Eid - an Army jawan was abducted while going on Eid leave and killed. 

Terrorism, violence and radicalism have risen and the fundamental rights of citizens, including right to life and free speech, are in danger, the BJP leader said.

On the other hand, addressing the press, Mehbooba said, "I submitted my resignation to the Governor and have told him that we are not looking to explore any other alliance... We had formed the alliance with BJP because we shared a grand vision. It took us many months to form an alliance whose prime focus was reconciliation and dialogue."

She added, "I am not shocked... We didn't do this alliance for power. This alliance had a bigger motive - unilateral ceasefire, PM's visit to Pakistan, withdrawal of 11,000 cases against the stone pelters... We had always said muscular security policy will not work in J&K, reconciliation is key... We have safeguarded Article 370 and 35-A (of the Constitution) and we will continue to do that."

The PDP and the BJP had formed a coalition more than two months after the December 2014 Assembly elections returned a hung verdict, in which the PDP got 28 seats and the BJP 25, while the National Conference bagged 15 seats and the Congress managed to win 12 in a House of 89. The government came to power on March 1, 2015. 

(With PTI inputs)

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