Jammu & Kashmir – A state without a Government?

BJP and PDP flags. Photo Credit: anandabazar.com

Since last week, the state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in India, has been in the news for the political turmoil that it has been witnessing. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and try to decode it for ourselves.

The Political Problem: The state of J&K was ruled by a coalition government formed between the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the Peoples Democratic Front (PDP) in the year 2015.

A coalition government is one where different parties come together and form an alliance since no one party has a clear majority in the assembly. In the case of J&K, in the 87 member assembly, the elected representatives per party were:

  • 28 from PDP,
  • 25 from BJP,
  • 15 from National Conference,
  • 12 from the Congress Party,
  • and the rest from smaller groups or independents.

Any party would have required 44 elected representatives. The BJP and PDP formed al alliance in order to make the majority.

However, the BJP (national party) and the PDP (state party) have always had a difference in ideology, and the situation had reached a point where they couldn’t see eye to eye.

So what exactly happened? The BJP pulled out of the alliance last week, resulting in the PDP not having the majority number in the assembly. On 19th June, 2018, Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister of J&K resigned from her position. The assembly has been suspended but other political parties have called for it to be dissolved. Once the assembly is dissolved, it will make way for elections to be conducted in J&K.

Why did the BJP walk out? It is believed that with the General Elections coming up in 2019 and J&K state elections in 2021, the two parties don’t want to be seen as part of the same team.

So who’s running the State now? J&K is now temporarily under Governor’s rule. Governor’s rule is brought into play when the State Government fails to do its duties as the governing body. A Governor of any state is appointed by the President of India.

Currently, 82 year old Narinder Nath Vohra is the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. It seems that the State is in experienced hands as he has been in this position since June 2008, and has taken charge of running the State at least 3 times in the last 10 years.

Why is it important to solve the problem? Governor’s rule in any state is a temporary solution. It is important to form a new State Government by conducting elections again. One has to hope that one party will emerge as the majority, or that alliances made are between parties with similar ideologies, not only for political gains.

A strong state government ensures that there is stability in the region which will solve many of the problems that the state of J&K face today.

Written by: Preetika Soni. Preetika Soni is a freelance content writer and transcriptionist. Her interests are photography, crochet, and finding answers for her 3 year old son’s ‘But Why’ questions.

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