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LS okays Prez rule in J&K; HM says committed to democratic process

December 28, 2018 22:52 IST

Lok Sabha on Friday adopted a resolution on imposition of President's rule in Jammu and Kashmir, with the Centre asserting that it was committed to democratic process in the state after the Opposition termed the decision to dissolve the Assembly as 'unconstitutional'.

The Statutory Resolution on imposition of President's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir, which requires Parliament's approval, was adopted with voice vote amid din in the House.

However, after members insisted, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed a discussion on the issue as a 'special case'.

 

As opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party questioned imposition of President's Rule and dissolution of J-K assembly, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the House that no party was in a position to form government even a day before December 19 when the Governor took the decision.

He also rejected claims of some opposition parties that the Bharatiya Janata Party was propping up a regional party to form government, saying if his party had such an intention, it would have done so within six months of the Governor's Rule.

"The government doesn't conduct elections but the government is ready for election. It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to hold elections... we are totally committed to democratic process," he said.

The Minister assured the House that security requirement of the Election Commission will be met for free and fair assembly election in the state.

Soon after imposition of the Governor's Rule in June, Singh said, the Governor's report of June 19 to the President indicated that no party or coalition of parties in the state was in a position to form government.

The Governor's rule was imposed in these conditions, he said, adding the assembly was not dissolved for six months in anticipation of formation of government in the state.

However, no party staked claim to form government and the Governor had to recommend President's Rule.

President's rule in Jammu and Kashmir follows if the Governor's rule extends beyond six months. The Statutory Resolution will now go to Rajya Sabha for approval.

Initiating the debate, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said Governor Satya Pal Malik acted in 'gross violation' of the Supreme Court order in S R Bommai case that had stated that whether an alliance has a majority or not can be decided only on the floor of the assembly.

Malik's decision to impose Governor's rule after the National Conference, the People's Democratic Party and the Congress made a move to form the government in the state was also in 'violation' of the Sarkaria Commission's guidelines on Centre-state relations, he said.

TMC's Saugata Roy termed the governor's decision as "arbitrary" and claimed the Centre had propped up a rival alliance led by Sajjad Lone, who had the support of 'only two MLAs'.

As Singh was speaking, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah interjected, saying, "The PDP approached our party and we agreed to provide them support along with the Congress. But the irony was that the fax and phone of the Governor were not working."

Referring to the decision to dissolve the assembly without giving an opportunity to the proposed NC-PDP-Congress alliance to form government in the state, he said, "Governor's House is not the place to prove majority but the assembly is. Governor didn't wait and dissolved it."

The Union home minister, however, asserted said that no party was in a position to form government even a day before the Governor took the decision about dissolution of the assembly.

"Our intentions should never be doubted on Jammu and Kashmir. If the BJP had to form the government, we could have done it within six months of the Governor's Rule," he said.

As far as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, he said, it is an old problem. The government is trying to improve the conditions by taking various steps like creating more employment for the people of the state.

Grassroots democracy is being strengthened, he said, noting that local bodies elections have been held after a gap of many years. Elected representatives of the local bodies are being given administrative and financial powers, he added.

Biju Janata Dal's Bhartruhari Mahtab supported the resolution, saying the Governor's rule in the state had become necessary and noted that two main regional parties, the NC and PDP, boycotted the panchayat polls. He said assembly elections should be held in the state along with 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's P Venugopal expressed his party's opposition to the imposition of Governor's rule as a matter of principle and asked the Centre to explain the reasons for taking such an 'extreme' step.

Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party called for holding elections in the state.

Expressing anguish over the situation in J-K, Abdullah said the state is going through great 'turmoil' which does not seem to end.

"The solution to the problems of the state is not through the police and the Army.... Something has to be done immediately," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.

"For the sake of India, Kashmir needs to be given priority. The state has been suffering a lot," he said.

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