Omar, Guv Malik face off over decision to dissolve assembly
Srinagar/Jammu: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Thursday questioned the Jammu and Kashmir governor’s rejection of a PDP-NC-Congress government on grounds of “different political ideologies”, a decision Satya Pal Malik defended by saying such a coalition could not have led to stability.
Addressing the media in Srinagar a day after Malik abruptly dissolved the state assembly, Abdullah also asked the governor to make public reports about the use of money and horse trading in government formation in the state.
People had a right to know who was buying MLAs and who was funding it, he said.
In Jammu, the winter capital of the state, the governor held a press conference at almost the same time to back his decision to not accept the claims of the PDP-Congress-NC alliance.
His surprise move Wednesday night came hours after the PDP staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival NC and the Congress. This was followed by another bid from the two-member People’s Conference which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.
On Thursday, he rejected claims that dissolution of the 87-member state assembly was done at the behest of the Centre or the BJP.
“For the past 15 to 20 days, I have been getting reports of large-scale horse trading. MLAs are being threatened and several types of underhand dealings are going on,” Malik told reporters at the Raj Bhavan.
It’s rare for a governor to call a press conference a day after dissolving the assembly.
“Mehbooba Ji told me a week before that her MLAs were being threatened through the NIA. Another side said MLAs were being lured with large-scale money. Horse trading had started 20 days ago,” he claimed, referring to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Had he given any side the opportunity to form government, it would have created a a bigger mess, he claimed.
“The value system of politics would have been destroyed as it is happening in other states. I could not afford that,” Malik said.
In his view, it would have been impossible for parties with “opposing political ideologies” to form a stable government.
“An opportunist government would have been the outcome of this process. We never wanted instability in a sensitive state,” Malik said, adding that the NC, the PDP and the Congress would have fought with each other.
“I have no personal interest and for me the interest of the state is prime. For that, I acted and dissolved the assembly as per the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the best action as per my wisdom and I have not been partial,” he said.
He said he wanted polls to be held and an elected government formed.
Taking on Malik, Abdullah said if the governor has himself accepted that MLAs were being bought over and money was changing hands people should know who was doing it.
“If the governor has such reports, he should make them public… These are not our accusations. It was the governor who said horse trading was happening and money was changing hands. We want to know where this money came from? We want to know at whose behest this money was being given and who was being bought.”
The former chief minister also questioned Malik’s decision of ignoring a letter written by his arch rival and PDP leader Mehbooba, staking claim to form government in the state with the help of the Congress and the NC.
“The governor gave reasons for not accepting the claim by PDP. He said parties of different political ideologies were coming together. Did you ask this question in 2015 when BJP and PDP tied up?
“That time, it was dubbed as the coming together of the north pole and the south pole… Today, you are telling other parties that you cannot come together even though the difference on some important issues between PDP, the NC and the Congress are small compared to the BJP and the PDP,” the NC vice president said.
According to Abdullah, the allegation of use of money and horse trading could not apply to a grand alliance that his party was part of and the governor was referring to another letter in which People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone had staked claim for government formation.
“The governor said horse trading and use of money for engineering defections had to be stopped. In our case, three parties came together. This accusation does not stand against us that money was used here.”
Though the PDP did not immediately speak on the issue on Thursday, state Congress chief G A Mir attacked Malik over the “undemocratic” decision to dissolve the state assembly and alleged that he kept the House in suspended animation to “facilitate horse trading” by the BJP and its allies to form the government.
“It was an undemocratic decision by the governor when three parties came together to stake claim for the government. It is simple murder of democracy in this sensitive state,” he said. (PTI)