Technically, Nobody Is Ruling J&K

Riyaz Ul Khaliq

SRINAGAR

CM Mufti's last tour of Srinagar. His last photo when he addressed a rally at TRC in Srinagar after which he fell ill and was flown to AIIMS, New Delhi.
CM Mufti’s last tour of Srinagar. His last photo when he addressed a rally at TRC in Srinagar after which he fell ill and was flown to AIIMS, New Delhi.

With Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed not around, J&K is under nobody’s rule. No elected government is around and the governor N N Vohra has not promulgated his rule either. This, experts say, has happened for the first time in the history of J&K post 1947.

Mufti was the third Chief Minister who passed away in office. Every time the Chief Minister breathed his last, his successor took oath of office almost instantly.

Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq died in a Chandigarh hospital on December 12, 1971. Almost instantly Syed Mir Qasim succeeded him. The transfer of power took place the same day.

After prolonged illness, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah passed away on September 8, 1982. Well before he was laid to rest, his son Dr Farooq Abdullah took over as the new Chief Minister.

However, in this case, while it is already known that Mehbooba Mufti will replace her father, no formal takeover has happened. This creates a new precedence in the state politics.

A top state government officer told Kashmir Life that they had made an arrangement for oath ceremony in Srinagar only. Even governor N N Vohra was in Srinagar till late in the evening and later he took off for Jammu.

“Madam is in a bad state and she is in shock,” one officer said. “She may take a bit of time.”

Unconfirmed reports from Jammu suggest that both the coalition partners BJP and PDP have not formally submitted their letters of support for the new Chief Minister which could be another reason.

During the day, one party insider said, three PDP leaders have had a brief meeting with governor but it was informal. “They did not carry any letter,” the leader said. “It will go soon.”

BJP sources suggest that since most of its ministers had flown to Srinagar to attend the funeral prayers, the party would sit formally in Jammu and send the letter.

Whatever the factors responsible for the new precedence, the fact remains that J&K is not under anybody’s rule, right now. There is, however, a possibility that Raj Bhawan may issue a notification later tonight.

Reports not attributed to anybody but in circulation on social websites suggest the oath ceremony may possibly take over on Friday. But there is not a hint if the ceremony will take place in Srinagar or in Jammu.

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