Union home minister Rajnath Singh hits back at Opposition on President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir
Rajnath Singh claimed that J-K Governor Satyapal Malik had sent a report to the president on June 19 recommending governor’s rule because no party was willing to form government after the BJP withdrew support to the coalition government.india Updated: Dec 29, 2018 08:04 IST
The central government is ready for assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir on any date and it is unfair to doubt its intentions in the troubled state, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha after the Opposition cried foul over the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.
“Our intentions should never be doubted on Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh said in his reply to a debate on a statutory resolution to approve proclamation issued by President on December 19. “If BJP had to form the government, we could have done it within six months of Governor’s Rule (being declared).” The resolution was adopted with a voice vote.
Singh added that the government is committed to democratic processes and rejected the charge that it was backing a regional party to form government in the state. “Believe me, there never was such an effort,” Singh said.
His remark was in response to the opposition’s charge that the BJP, with 25 MLAs, was backing Sajjad Lone’s chief ministerial bid in Kashmir after Mehbooba Mufti’s government, a coalition one between the BJP-and the People’s Democratic Party fell. Lone’s Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference had 2 MLAs in the dissolved assembly.
The BJP withdrew support to the Mufti government on June 19 and the state was placed under governor’s rule for six months. Governor Satyapal Malik dissolved the state assembly on November 21, claiming no party was in a position to form government. The dissolution was immediately preceded by high drama with both Mufti and Lone staking claim to form a government. The term of governor’s rule ended on December 19 and the state was placed under President’s Rule.
Singh claimed that Malik sent a report to the president on June 19 recommending governor’s rule because no party was willing to form government after the BJP withdrew support to the coalition government. The assembly was not dissolved for six months in anticipation of formation of government in the state, Singh said. “However, no party staked claim to form government so the governor had to recommend President’s Rule,” he said.
Malik has said he disregarded the claims made immediately prior to the dissolution because he knew none of the claimants had the numbers.
Congress’s Shashi Tharoor said Malik acted in “gross violation” of a Supreme Court order in the SR Bommai case that stated that whether an alliance has a majority or not can be decided only on the floor of the assembly. The governor’s “private assessment” is anathema to the Constitution and is also subject to personal malfeasance, he said.
“Did the governor give in writing, listing the reasons for the recommendation of President’s rule. I request you to share it with the Lok Sabha?” said Tharoor.
Union minister and Udhampur MP Jitendra Singh said the 2014 assembly election in J&K returned a split verdict with the BJP and the People’s Democratic Party getting almost equal number of seats. “We formed an alliance as it was dictated by the people’s mandate and walked away from the alliance on the will of the people,” he said.
Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress also termed the governor’s decision as “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional”. He also accused the Centre of “collusion” and claimed that it tried to prop up the rival alliance led by Lone.
BJD’s Bhartruhari Majtab supported the resolution and pointed out that the two main regional parties in the state, the National Conference and the PDP boycotted recent local elections. He said assembly polls should be held in the state along with the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
AIADMK’s P Venugopal expressed his party’s opposition to the resolution as a matter of principle and asked the Centre to explain the reasons for taking such an “extreme” step.
First Published: Dec 29, 2018 08:04 IST