Farooq Abdullah said Governor’s or President’s Rule was an autocratic measure and there was no substitute for a popular government.
Srinagar: As Jammu and Kashmir is being brought under President’s Rule on the expiry of six months of Governor’s Rule from midnight Wednesday, several mainstream parties have demanded the holding of Assembly elections at earliest so that a popular government takes over the reins in the state.
Former chief minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah told reporters: “I think Governor’s (Rule) and President’s Rule must come to an end. There should be elections and people must choose their representatives who can work.”
He said Governor’s or President’s Rule was an autocratic measure and there was no substitute for a popular government. “The National Conference has been impressing on the incumbent administration to hold elections as soon as possible. We believe that an elected government will be able to deliver in a better way,” he said.
State CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also demanded holding of elections to the Assembly as soon as possible. He told this newspaper: “Our experience is that the governor’s administration or President’s Rule through the governor and his advisers and bureaucrats is not an answer to the problems faced by our state. We have for a long time been experiencing this type of administration. In the 1990s, we had it for a longer period. Now we have it in force for the past six months, and our experience is that the situation has only deteriorated and things are getting more complex and more difficult by the day.”
He alleged that “political uncertainly” in the state was taking a turn for the worse turn and ordinary people were suffering a lot. “In our opinion it is good for the state and its people that elections must be conducted as early as possible. Also, the Supreme Court has ruled that elections should be held within six months after the dissolution of the Assembly,” he said, and expressed the hope that the Centre would understand the gravity of the situation.
Other mainstream parties also said that elections to the J&K Assembly should be held without any further delay to end the prevailing political uncertainty. The BJP, however, had a different view. It says since the imposition of Governor’s Rule, the state has seen development in all sectors and that people were happy with it (Centre’s rule); hence it should continue for some more time.
The Centre has recommended the imposition of President’s Rule on the expiry of six months of Governor’s Rule. The State was put under Governor’s Rule on June 20, a day after the coalition of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP collapsed.
Governor’s Rule is imposed in the state for six months under Section 92 of the J&K Constitution, under which all legislative powers are vested with the governor, unlike other states of the country where in the absence of an elected government, President’s Rule is declared under Article 356 of the Constitution. After President’s Rule is imposed in J&K under Section 92 of the state constitution, all decisions taken should have the concurrence of the President under Article 74 (1)(i), under which the council of ministers with the Prime Minister at the head will aid and advise the President.
On November 22, governor Satyapal Malik dissolved the 87-member Assembly after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, supported by the National Conference and the Congress, staked claim to form the government. At the same time, the two-member People’s Conference led by Sajjad Gani Lone also staked claim to form a government with 25 members of the BJP and other 18 other unknown members supporting it.
The governor, Mr Malik, justified his move saying he had satisfied himself that “the best course of action was to dissolve the Assembly... 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 the possible exchange of money in order to secure the support of legislators belonging to “widely diverging political ideologies” to be able to form a government. “Such activities are not healthy for democracy and vitiate the political process”, he had said, and expressed serious doubts about the longevity of any such arrangement where there were competing claims of a majority.