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COALITION COLLAPSE: JK braces for Governor’s Rule for the seventh time

Srinagar, Jun 19: With the pullout orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the consequent resignation from office by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, another spell of Governor’s Rule seems imminent in Jammu and Kashmir. If it comes to this, it would be the seventh time the state will be directly ruled by the Centre.
Governor’s Rule can be imposed on the state under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir if the “governor is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. The governor may, by proclamation (a), assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by anybody or authority in the State”.
The last spell of Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir was before the formation of the outgoing government, which came to power after intense deliberation between the BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015.
When former president Pranab Mukherjee accepted the Centre’s recommendation for Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir on 9 January, 2015, that was the sixth time the state went under direct central rule.
Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state after the Assembly election results on 23 December, 2014, threw up a hung Assembly, with no party or combination of parties able to stake claim to form government and then caretaker chief minister Omar Abdullah asking to be relieved from the duties with immediate effect on 7 January.
The PDP had emerged the single largest party with 28 seats in the 87-member House in the staggered elections held over five of the last six weeks of 2014. The BJP came in a close second with 25 seats, followed by the National Conference (15 seats), Congress (12 seats) and others (seven seats).
When the BJP and PDP cobbled up an alliance, it was the fourth consecutive time that a democratically elected government in the state was preceded by a spell of Governor’s Rule.
Sheikh Mohammad was installed as the chief minister of the state following the Indira-Sheikh Delhi Accord in 1975. The tallest leader of the state returned to power with a thumping majority in the subsequent elections held in July 1977.
Direct central rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir for the second time in March 1986, when the Congress had withdrawn support to the minority government headed by Abdullah’s son-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah. Shah had engineered a split in the National Conference in 1984 to form his own government with Congress support. However, he had to step down after the Congress withdrew support over law and order problems in the state, leading to the recommendation of Governor’s Rule by the then governor Jagmohan Malhotra.
The Governor’s Rule came to an end in November 1986 after then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi entered into an accord with National Conference President Farooq Abdullah for power-sharing in the state.
Jagmohan’s return to the Raj Bhavan for the second term in January 1990 led to the resignation of then chief minister Farooq Abdullah, necessitating another spell of Governor’s Rule.
This was the longest spell of direct central rule in Jammu and Kashmir — six years and eight months — as elections could not be held because militancy had risen in many parts of the state. Although Jagmohan was recalled within six months of his second appointment, the Governor’s Rule continued till October 1996 when fresh Assembly elections were held.
Governor’s Rule had to be imposed in the state for the fourth time in October 2002 after caretaker chief minister Farooq Abdullah refused to continue in office in the wake of his party’s defeat in the Assembly elections that year. It was the shortest spell of Governor’s Rule — 15 days — as the PDP and Congress, with the support of 12 independents, formed government on 2 November.
Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state for 174 days after the PDP withdrew support to the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Congress-PDP coalition government in July 2008. The PDP withdrew support to the government on 28 June, 2008, following widespread protests during the Amarnath land row agitation, which pitted the Hindu-dominated Jammu region against the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.
Azad was to seek a vote of confidence in the Legislative Assembly on 7 July but chose to resign instead. The central rule came to an end on 5 January, 2009, after Omar Abdullah was sworn in as the youngest chief minister of the state.