The Governor’s rule was replaced by President’s rule in November 2018.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Wednesday said that he wants the President’s Rule in the state to end at the earliest but the final call on the timing of holding the Assembly elections will be taken by the Election Commission (EC).
“We want this (President’s rule) to end as soon as possible. But the final call on holing elections for the State Assembly will be taken by the EC,” he told reporters here, refuting the charge of some political parties that certain officials of his administration were not keen on transfer of power to an elected government.
In the recent past, Mr. Malik has been publicly criticised by various political parties and their leaders over his taking major policy decision including those pertaining to the State’s constitution. They also accused the Narendra Modi government of making “sinister” moves by using the Governor’s office to further dis-empower the State.
J&K was brought under Governor’s rule in June last year after the collapse of the PDP-BJP coalition government. The Governor’s rule was replaced by President’s rule in November 2018.
The 87-member J&K Assembly- thrown up by the 2014 polls- which had been kept in suspended animation was dissolved by Mr. Malik on November 22 last year after PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, supported by the National Conference and the Congress had staked claim to form the government. Simultaneously, the two-member People’s Conference led by Sajjad Gani Lone had also staked claim to form a government with 25 members of the BJP and other 18 unknown members
While various mainstream political parties barring BJP had termed the Governor’s move of dissolving the Assembly as “undemocratic and unconstitutional”, Mr. Malik had justified his move saying that he had satisfied himself that “the best course of action was to dissolve the Assembly so as to provide stability and security to the State and hold elections at an appropriate time so that a government with a clear mandate is duly formed”. He had also claimed receiving 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.
However, despite all major political parties’ seeking simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in J&K, the EC chose to defer the Assembly elections in the State in view of “constraints in number of security forces and recent violent incidents’.
Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, recently indicated a decision on holing the State Assembly elections could be announced by the EC after the completion of the Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, Mr. Malik on Wednesday apologised to the public for the inconvenience due to civilian traffic ban on vital Srinagar-Jammu, but asserted that the decision was taken in the national interest.
“I apologise to the people for the inconvenience they had to face due to the highway restrictions but the ban was imposed in national interest,” he said.
The State government had in April this year imposed a complete ban on civilian traffic movement along the Baramulla-Udhampur section of the 350-km long highway between 4 am and 5 pm on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31. It had said that the decision was taken “keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the Parliamentary elections and associated possibility of fidayeen terror attack on security forces’ convoys”. It also said that the additional security personnel were being brought in for anti-militancy operations.
The decision was taken following a directive from the Union Home Ministry in the backdrop of the February 14 terror attack on a CRPF convoy at Lethapora (Pulwama) along the highway which left as many as 49 security personnel dead and several others wounded. The government had said that another “possible fidayeen attack” on another security force convoy at Banihal took place on March 30.