India: Mehbooba Mufti resigns as Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister as Bharatiya Janata Party breaks alliance

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On Tuesday, Mehbooba Mufti resigned as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) broke their three-year alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP). BJP's decision to dissolve the alliance came after a meeting chaired by BJP President Amit Shah.

The BJP National Secretary General Ram Madhav said, "It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government." "We have tried to put a full stop to the ceasefire violations of Pakistan. PDP has not been successful in fulfilling its promises. Our leaders have been facing a lot of difficulties from PDP in developmental works in Jammu and Kashmir", he added. Military operations in Jammu and Kashmir were suspended for the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, but on Sunday, the national government decided to end the ceasefire.

Ram Madhav said, "The security scenario has deteriorated, causing serious concern about the protection of basic fundamental rights of life, free speech." Last week, on June 14, a journalist was killed in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, the United Nations had released its first-ever report on Kashmir, calling on both India and Pakistan to prevent human rights violation in Kashmir region.

Following the announcement of BJP, Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation and said, "The alliance had a bigger motive. I have submitted my resignation to the governor and told him that we are not looking to explore other alliances." Of the 87 seats in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, PDP has 28 seats, while BJP has 25. Other parties declined to form an alliance. Ram Madhav said the party had "decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the Governor."

Per section 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir constitution, the governor assumes the functions of the state government as well as powers exercisable by any state authority. For the governor's control over the state, it needs to be formally approved by the President of India. On Wednesday, President Ram Nath Kovind, who is on an international trip, approved the transfer of control to Governor Narinder Nath Vohra after he signed files for the imposition of governor's rule when he arrived in Suriname. According to a spokesperson for the Home Affairs ministry, the president approved Governor's rule with "immediate effect". However, Vohra's term as Jammu and Kashmir governor is to end on June 25. Previously, in 2013, he received an extension from the national government to continue his role as the governor.

Jammu and Kashmir has previously been under governor's rule on eight occasions, most recently in 2016 after the death of then-Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

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