J&K formally put under governor's rule after fractured poll verdict

With a fractured electoral verdict in Jammu & Kashmir and no parties prepared to join hands to form a government, the state was placed under Governor's Rule on Friday, when governor N N Vohra issued a proclamation under Section 92(1) of the Constitution of J&K.

j&k Governor N N Vohra"As none of the political party or parties has so far staked a claim to form the next government, the governance of the state cannot be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the state. Consequently, with the approval of the President of India, Governor's Rule has been imposed in the state with effect from 8 January," said an official spokesman.

It is third time since 2002 that Governor's Rule has been imposed in Jammu & Kashmir. In 2002 the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah refused to be caretaker chief minister, prompting the then governor G C Saxena to impose the Governor's Rule.

Later in 2008, Governor's Rule was again imposed when Ghulam Nabi Azad quit as the chief minister after the PDP withdrew support to his government over the Amarnath land row.

Unlike other states, J&K has to be placed under governor's rule for six months before president's rule is imposed in the state.

The situation in the state is akin to 2002 when PDP and Congress had to fast-track their alliance after a brief spell of governor's rule to form the government with both parties agreeing to rotational chief minister with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed getting the first three years.

This time however the alliance of the two biggest parties, the PDP and the BJP, is knotty considering their deep ideological differences and their different electorates, and another hasty alliance is unlikely. While the Muslim-backed PDP holds sway in the Kashmir Valley, the pro-Hindu BJP has most of its voters in Jammu.

"In the past two weeks, the governor held consultations with PDP and BJP leaders, which had secured the largest and the second largest number of seats in the state assembly respectively. However, no party or group of parties has so far staked claim to form the next government in the state," the spokesman said.

On 7 January, Omar Abdullah informed the governor that he had decided to step down as the caretaker chief minister with immediate effect.

Soon after the proclamation a bitter political war broke out with both PDP and National Conference accusing each other of precipitating the crisis in the restive Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistani elements have sought to exploit the uncertainty by increasing their attacks and infiltration attempts in the region.

"Flood restoration & rehabilitation is suffering, accountable administration is absent & there is a humanitarian problem on the border it's been months since the state had a full-fledged administration & the people can't wait for Mufti Syed to negotiate his six year term," Omar tweeted

The PDP blamed Omar directly for the governor's rule saying he precipitated the crisis. "I think this is an interim arrangement and it could provide a relaxed atmosphere for the parties to hammer out a solution to very knotty problem. January 19 (deadline to form the government) is now irrelevant," said Naeem Akthar, chief spokesman of PDP.

The BJP said the centre has deemed it fit to impose the governor rule because there was no way out. "As a responsible political party which has got mandate, we will try our best to install a stable government in J&K as soon as possible," said Khalid Jahangir, BJP spokesman.

National Conference accused BJP and PDP of playing petty politics about the government formation and the delay in forming the government has added to the miseries of the flood ravaged people of the state.

"The so-called tussle between BJP and PDP over ideological issues is not about Article 370 or AFSPA but both of these power hungry parties are fighting for the CM's chair and other important cabinet portfolios," said Mustafa Kamal, additional general secretary of NC.