By Naveed Bukhtiyar
New Delhi toppling the state government is not a new concept or phenomenon. History is witness to the fact how New Delhi overturned the Government of Sheikh Abdullah and, many years later, to withdrawing the alliance with JKPDP in 2018. As Basharat Peer has stated in his book “The Curfewed Nights”, betrayal by Delhi is not new; it has started from the Mughal era when the then Mughal emperor Akbar invited the last ruler of Kashmir Yousef Shah Chak to Delhi for talks but actually imprisoned him.
The recent betrayal by New Delhi was by withdrawing the alliance with the PDP in Kashmir on 19 June this year. The popular view is that this was done only to strengthen the People’s Conference and install Sajad Lone as Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
.Although many PDP legislators joined the rebel group but this too did not help the BJP. The factor to understand here is that horse trading is done to make self-party strong but, here in Kashmir, they with might and money tried to strengthen People Conference as BJP assessed they have no acceptance in Kashmir and their real and sole motive was to strengthen their proxy party in Kashmir.
As the BJP failed in horse trading, it tried to create the notion of a “third front” in Kashmir with the narrative that it wanted to build the party which would fight against dynasty politics of Muftis and Abdullahs along the lines of the BJP’s strategy against the Congress in India.. The installing of the city mayor also added to the notion of the third front.
If we analyse and observe from a legal perspective, the dissolution of assembly is unconstitutional as held in Rameshwar Prasad and others (2006) and that that an uncorroborated argument of horse trading or corruption in government formation cannot be cited as reasons to dissolve the assembly. Also a nine judge bench of the Supreme Court in the SR Bommai(1994) case had observed that power under article 356 is extraordinary; must be used sparingly and should never be used for political gain for the party in power in New Delhi.
In 2014, after fresh elections Mohammed Shafi Uri, a senior leader of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference and leader from Sheikh Abdulla’s time was first person who suggested NC, PDP and Congress to come together against the BJP but all the three parties showed disinterest in his advice. The grand alliance was a result of horse trading by BJP by luring with beneficial offers and to some extent by threats as openly endorsed by Mehbooba Mufti.
The nature of the dissolution of the J & K Assembly is actually in the benefit for all the parties, as all the three have sensed that the BJP was about to be successful in horse trading and to save their own parties they took the step of Grand alliance. If anyone of the parties among the troika would have been serious in forming the government , they would have moved the court against the order of the governor but actually it’s a win-win situation for them and moreover everything is in favour of National Conference ;.it is also pertinent to mention here that the dissolution was not exactly a betrayal but more in the nature of a result of party politics.
There is also a view that it was also done so that Sajad Lone would not get a major setback but rather the more important factor was the anti BJP wave which would have emerged from Kashmir by this grand alliance and which would have affected BJP in Jammu for the Assembly, Lok Sabha elections and proxy people/ parties of BJP by diminishing them.
The author is a Law Student and a student activist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.