A political thriller cut short life of J&K Assembly

The electorate in Jammu and Kashmir stunned everybody in 2014 when it elected 55 first-timers as members of the state legislative assembly.
A political thriller cut short life of J&K Assembly
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The electorate in Jammu and Kashmir stunned everybody in 2014 when it elected 55 first-timers as members of the state legislative assembly. But the journey of these members was never easy for the next four years, before the House was dissolved in November this year following a high political drama.

After remaining under suspended animation thrice since its constitution, the curtains fell on the assembly on November 21 after the Peoples Democratic Party and Peoples Conference staked claim, separately, to form a government in the state.

The 2014 elections threw up a fractured mandate with the PDP emerging as a single largest party by bagging 28 seats, followed by BJP that got 25 seats. The National Conference finished third by winning 15 seats while its erstwhile ally Congress walked away with 12 seats. The Peoples Conference won two seats while others, including independents, bagged five seats.

After the hung verdict, the assembly remained under suspended animation for more than two months due to negotiations between the PDP and BJP over government formation.

On March 1, 2015, then PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took oath as the chief minister of the PDP-BJP government. But his tenure was mired in controversies ranging from release of a top resistance leader Masarat Alam to a High Court verdict on beef ban in the state.

Sayeed's death on January 7, 2016 once again put the assembly under suspended animation, with the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti showing reluctance to lead the government. Finally on April 4, 2016, Mehbooba took oath as the chief minister amid reports that her ally BJP was trying to split the PDP. Her handling of the 2016 uprising triggered by the killing of Burhan Wani came under sharp criticism from different quarters as more than 90 civilians were killed  in forces' firing during the six-month-long turmoil in the Valley.

The government led by Mehbooba also often found itself caught in deep controversies over issues ranging from her remarks against ally BJP to some other emotive and sensitive issues. The PDP-BJP coalition came to an end on June 19 this year with the BJP pulled the plug on the state government.

But, this did not end the life of the assembly that was again put under suspended animation.

A high political drama on November 21, however, cut short the life of the assembly whose term otherwise was to end on March 16, 2021.

Taking everybody by surprise, the PDP claimed that it will form a government with Congress and National Conference. Later that evening, both PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and PC chief Sajjad Gani Lone, through separate letters, staked  claim for forming government in the state.

At 8.16 pm, Mehbooba wrote on twitter that she could not reach the governor through fax or phone and tagged the letter sent by her to the governor on the official twitter account of Raj Bhavan. Just eight minutes later, at 8.24 pm, Sajjad took to twitter to announce that he has also staked claim for forming the government. After both parties staked claim to form the government, the governor brought an end to the daylong political drama by dissolving the assembly.

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