“Had I Listened To Centre…”: Jammu & Kashmir Governor’s Startling Claim

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Satya Pal Malik has been facing questions about government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. (File)

Srinagar:

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, who abruptly dissolved the assembly last week after two rival groups – one backed by the BJP – staked claim to power, has raised eyebrows with his comments defending his decision.

"Had I looked towards Delhi (the centre), then I would have been forced to invite Sajad Lone to form the government," the Governor said at a convocation in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior on Saturday. "Then I would have gone down in history as unscrupulous. But I ended the whole thing. Those who want to abuse me can do so, but I am convinced I did the right thing," Mr Malik stressed.

The governor had faced questions after dissolving the assembly, and had been accused by parties like the Congress and PDP of taking instructions from the BJP-led central government.

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On Wednesday, in a tweet, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, staked claim to power claiming the support of the Congress and rival Omar Abdullah's National Conference. Moments later, People's Conference leader Sajad Lone, who has two members in the assembly, also tweeted claiming support from the BJP and other unspecified lawmakers.

Mehbooba Mufti claimed she could not reach the Governor either by fax or phone. After failing to fax her letter, she tweeted it out. Sajad Lone also said he had been told the machine wasn't working and had been asked to WhatsApp his letter, which he did.

Mr Malik was speaking after NDTV's Ravish Kumar jokingly asked the graduating engineering students at the convocation to come up with a fax machine that "will not stop working after 7 pm". "I am saying this in the governor's presence because I am sure he will take it in the right spirit, because this is a democracy."

In his response to the quip, Mr Malik said: "If Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdhullah were serious about forming government in Jammu and Kashmir, they should have called me, or sent me a letter."

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